Greeks in Turkey who hold citizenship there are complaining that characters on Turkish TV shows are depicting the Greek minority as criminals, collaborators, traitors and with only negative traits, fueling fears it could resurrect the bad feelings of the 1950’-60’s when the Greek community was vilified for political reasons.
Today’s Zaman reported that the community is fighting back. The Association for the Support of Greek Foundations President Laki Vingas and Secretary-General Katerina Proku Türker filed a complained with the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), which audits TV broadcasts, regarding the negative portrayal of Greeks on TV shows.
In a written statement, Vingas and Türker protested that the TV show Ustura Kemal was especially reprehensible in its depiction of Greeks. “Certain characters displayed on the show lead to discomfort in members of the Greek community who live in Turkey as citizens of this country. All negative characters such as prostitutes, traitors and collaborators are portrayed as Greeks.”
The complaint further said that sociologists and anthropologists have agreed that, throughout history, flaws such as prostitution, theft and homicide could exist in any society because human beings are prone to mistakes and urged people not to attribute those to any ethnicity or society.
Noting that tens of thousands of Greeks had to leave Turkey in the past because of negative profiling in newspapers and the film industry, Vingas said that current popular TV shows aired in prime time are equally disturbing for Greek citizens.
According to Today’s Zaman, Vingas also said, “Nobody has the right to insult the Greek community like this – people who serve Turkey as law-abiding citizens of this country as doctors, academics, architects, engineers, lawyers, artists and businessmen.” He said he was discomfort at the possible biases of “Greece’s next-door neighbors and their negative perceptions.”
Vingas urged RTÜK to warn the channel that airs the TV show that leads to discomfort and asked for more sensitivity towards minorities in future projects. RTÜK reportedly shared the complaint with the TV channel that airs the show.
Ironically, Turkish TV shows are among the most popular in Greece, despite complaints from the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party and the some in the Greek Church who have urged Greeks not to watch them.