Skip to main content

Why was cosmopolitan Istanbul so threatening to Turkish identity?

A new Netflix series has kicked off conversations on long-hushed questions about Turkish identity.
Netflix's "The Club."

“I cried when I saw a Shabbat candle lit in a Turkish prison,” said a 78-year-old Jewish-Turkish woman who has lived in California for the last three decades. “It turned my head around because I was thinking it is Friday night in Istanbul, and the Israeli couple accused of spying have to spend the Shabbat in prison. 'Kayadez' is the one Ladino word every Jew in Turkey knows. It means discretion; we are told to keep low-profile by our elders for our own good.”

The Netflix period drama "The Club" has generated a lot of chatter among academics, art lovers, minorities and diaspora. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.