Pro-gov’t media claim Netflix targeting Turkey through Belgian show

A Belgian-made Netflix show called 13 Geboden (13 Commandments) has come under fire from Turkey’s pro-government media outlets over what they call portraying Turks as barbaric murderers.

A Haber, Sabah, Takvim and various other pro-government outlets claim that the show, which included photographs of Turkey’s founding leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the background in a scene involving a Turkish-Belgian immigrant character, has insulted the Turkish nation.

The claims arrive as Netflix has applied for a license to continue operating in Turkey under new online broadcasting rules.

A Haber said the juxtaposition was another instalment of Netflix slandering Turkey.

The show opens with a Turkish man slitting the throat of his victim, and the photographs are used to stress that the murderer is Turkish, A Haber said.

Takvim slammed Netflix, saying the entertainment service has "no honour and hates Turkey.’’
Netflix’s revulsion of Turkey was revealed once again, Sabah said.

The crime series depicts an honour killing by a Turkish man in Belgium. The photographs are displayed on the walls in the killer’s family home, as reported by EuroNews Turkish.

Honour killings are a serious issue in Turkey and in some of the more conservative-leaning Turkish immigrant communities in Europe. Over 400 women are murdered every year in Turkey, and a significant portion of these murders are considered honour killings, although exact numbers are not known as statistics are not kept.

In the show, the murderer travels to Belgium from Turkey to kill his niece, a 17-year-old Turkish-Belgian immigrant. The girl, Esma, is engaged to her cousin who works at a kebab shop, but she has a Flemish boyfriend. Her Turkish fiance ties her up and hands her over to the uncle to be killed. Her autopsy reveals that she is three months pregnant.

Netflix’s promotional material describes the show as, “In Belgium, a tough detective teams up with a damaged elite cop to hunt a Ten Commandments-inspired vigilante with a penchant for theatrical torture.”

The streaming giant has been involved in controversy in Turkey, as new regulations to broadcasters in Turkey necessitate the acquisition of a licence from the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), which enforces strict censor rules in the country.