Netflix’s new series “Bir Başkadır” (“unique” in Turkish, “Ethos” the English title) is being talked about everywhere in Turkey. Released on November 12th 2020, this drama series plunges viewers into the heart of the social, cultural and religious issues currently dividing the country. Over eight episodes the interweaving stories of 12 characters provide a panorama of Istanbul society today.
At the centre is Meryem (Öykü Karayel), a pious Muslim girl from a low-income, conservative family on the outskirts of the city. She consults a psychiatrist, Peri, a woman from a wealthy background, secular and hostile to religion. By showing us these characters, each with convictions and beliefs utterly opposed to each other, director Berkun Oya creates an appeal for dialogue.
In an article for Slate.fr, journalist Nazlan Ertan emphasises how this series tackles all her country’s polarised views: “between Erdoganists and Kemalists, between rich and poor, between rural and urban, between the periphery and the centre.”
Watched by several million from its first episode, the series immediately hit the headlines and for several weeks remained top of the Top 10 most watched series in the country.
On the Twitter and social networks there is enormous support, while several conservative media have called for the series to be censored, accusing it of attacking “spiritual and national values.” Others, like the Istanbul daily Evrensel, qualify “Bir Başkadır” as “without doubt the best Netflix has produced in Turkey.”