The Most Common Themes in Turkish TV Series Last Year

 The Most Common Themes in Turkish TV Series Last Year

The most common themes in Turkish TV series last year were toxic relationships, different lifestyles, others, the war between conservatives and secularist, the reappearance of missing children after years and the difficulty of adapting to a new life, the distinction between those above and those below. Hostility was the first step on the path of every series competing for ratings on screen. Those who had excluded each other drew closer and over time, their hearts became united. Until another enemy appeared…

“Don’t worry about my order being messed up, my life being turned upside down. How do you know that life wouldn’t be better if it was upside down?” said Şems-i Tebrizi… The drama is also very much fuelled by this quote from Şems. Because it created anxiety, it triggered the idea and the change. And by changing, the Story came to exist.

If we look at Turkish dramas today, almost all the characters are blindly attached to the comfort, the unhappiness, the traumas and the order that they have established, saying that “they are mine” anyway, and they live like devotees of this life. They no longer question, feel, look or see.

They are even afraid, madly afraid, that a stranger will come and change their order in this system they have built for themselves and called life. This makes them more angry, more conservative, more resistant to change. And that’s when the conflict starts…


Over the past year, the conflicts in Turkish TV series have evolved in parallel with the country’s agenda. As a Muslim country governed by a republican form of government, Türkiye’s divisions between secular and conservative factions have also been reflected in the TV series. And in a short time, it paid off in the ratings. In a world where everyone was pushing their own values, it was important to understand and listen to the “other”.

Turkish TV series did not stay away from this. One Love, which focused on the events that took place after the marriage of Fatih and Doğa, who had families with different cultures, lifestyles and ways of life, was the most popular TV series of 2023. This was because while Doğa was the daughter of a secular family, Fatih was the son of a conservative family that practised Islam to the full.

While Doğa’s mother Kıvılcım was a divorced, modern woman who worked as a college director, Fatih’s mother Pembe was a traditional woman who wore a headscarf, believing men were superior to women and did not work.

Both families were Muslim. But they were diametrically opposed in terms of values, dress, food and drink, and outlook on life. Furthermore, each side pressured the other into believing that their way of life was the right one.

One love


Both families were enemies. But time, exposure to each other, the universality of feelings united them. First they began to understand, then to love, change and respect each other. They looked for a way to live together in peace.

They came to understand that it was not about the headscarf, religion, conservatism or secularism, but about being human. When a woman in a headscarf was the victim of violence by a man, the first person to rush to her side was the secular woman whose lifestyle she was criticising. They were healing each other’s pain.

It was this tolerance that increased the audience of the series. However, the Supreme Council of Radio and Television (RTÜK) suspended the series for three episodes following complaints from the conservative sector. This decision was most opposed by the secular sector. The Turkish people began to realise that they were marginalising those closest to them through One Love. As a result of public pressure, the viewer was the winner and One Love returned to the screen.


The star of this series, which starred names such as Evrim Alasya, known for the series Scorpion and Sun’s Girls; Barış Kılıç, the actor of the series The Girl Named Feriha, War of the Roses, Forbidden Fruit; Doğukan Güngör, Hamit of Phoenix; Sıla Türkoğlu, the leading actor of the series The Promise and Legacy, was actually the Story.

In a short time, every actor in the series became famous. Because the story of each character was feeding the series. However, the peace of two opposite families lasted until a certain date.

Conflict was necessary to go on. So the trump card of the secular woman’s love affair with the conservative married man, i.e. forbidden love, came into play. And the tolerance that had been built up was thrown away. The woman became the victim of the woman again, and the other became the other again! Because the other always meant ratings.


Ömer, adapted from the Israeli TV series Shtisel, was one of the series that dealt with the theme of “discriminating” and “the other”. Starring Selahattin Paşalı, Osman of Aşk 101; Gökçe Bahadır, the popular actress of Yaprak Dökümü, Ufak Tefek Cinayetler, All About Marriage and Kulüp; and Merve Dizdar, Gülben of Inocentes, who won the “Best Actress” award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2023 for her performance in the film About Dry Grasses, the series started its airing life with the claim of telling the life and love of Ömer, who works as a muezzin in the mosque where his father is an imam.

In the Turkish adaptation, the impossible love was emphasised. Because there were too many obstacles in the way of this love. Gamze, with whom Ömer fell in love, was an older, divorced, secular woman with children. Reşat, Ömer’s imam father, wanted his son to marry a young, conservative and unmarried girl. Not only Reşat, but also Gamze wanted to stay away from Ömer’s choice.

In her opinion, this love was wrong. Neighbourhood pressure, family pressures and even his own traumas could not stop Ömer from loving Gamze. In the end, he convinced Gamze that love knows no boundaries. Everyone was against Ömer and Gamze, but they had a love that could blossom even under the snow.

This naive story also made Ömer smile and get rated. Ömer’s religion was Islam and his Qibla was humanity. He never deviated from the line he had taken.



Extreme damage, even if it is love… When faith is involved, the situation becomes dangerous. Tariqas that exploit faith and go to extremes are a danger that does not live in front of the eyes of the public in every country. Because they feed on faith and nourish religion.

It is forbidden to question, object or raise a voice. Everything is divided into two with strict rules: Sin and good deeds. In recent years, series about such sects that exploit faith have become popular in the world!

In the last month of the year, a series on this subject started in Türkiye; Red Roses

The series tells the inside story of an imaginary cult called “Faniler” (Mortals).

In doing so, it both shows how tariqas brainwash people and criticises the mistakes of the secular sector. It scrutinises the excesses of both sides.

While the series is about the intersection of the fates of Levent, a secular Kemalist, and Meryem, who belongs to a tariqa, it draws attention to the unifying power of motherhood/fatherhood when it comes to the child despite differences of belief and opinion.


The series began with a verse from Surah Al-i Imran: “When you were enemies, He united your hearts.” In this way, Levent and Meryem have also signaled that their characters will make the transition from enmity to love.

The series stars Özgü Namal, who starred in Valley of the Wolves, Merhamet, Hanımın Çiftliği and Özcan Deniz, who starred in Asmalı Konak, Haziran Gecesi, Karagül, Kaderimin Yazıldığı Gün and Evermore. Özgü Namal, who has not acted for 10 years, says that she was very impressed by the character of Meryem, who, despite living in a sect, rebelled against this structure in order to send her gifted daughter to school, and that is why she accepted the role. Because what happens in extremism always happens to children.

red roses


Another screen theme of last year was missing children. This issue was covered in three series that ranked high in the ratings. Family Secrets, starring Pınar Deniz and Kaan Urgancıoğlu, which has been running for two seasons and has reached serious ratings abroad, received the International Emmy Best Telenovela award in 2023. The third season of the series started with the disappearance of the child of prosecutor Ilgaz and lawyer Ceylin.

The series, which centred on the questions “Is Mercan lost, kidnapped or dead?”, left viewers in tears for weeks. Ilgaz seemed to accept the situation, but Ceylin had hope that they would find her daughter. She even became a prosecutor. So she could get all the permits to search for his daughter. And she succeeded.

Mercan was kidnapped when she was two and found when she was four. But she called someone else as mum and didn’t remember her real family. Ceylin’s job as a mother was difficult, but the situation was complicated for 4-year-old Mercan. She was trying to understand the situation with her child mind and to love Ceylin with his tiny heart.

But she was also fighting with herself because if she loved Ceylin, she would upset the woman she knew as a mother, the woman who kidnapped her. While this conflict increased the ratings, it also pushed the viewers into a completely different question, reminding them to be more careful when trying to enter the pure world of children.

family secrets


The theme of the lost child is also covered in the series I Am Mother, starring Özge Özpirinçci, the star of the world’s most watched series such as Kadın and Aşk Yeniden. Karsu, who has just given birth, sends her 3-year-old son Kuzey, who is jealous of the baby, to Istanbul with his own mother. The series is about the grandmother’s loss of her grandson and Karsu’s experiences.

What we are actually watching is the story of Karsu, whose life is shattered when she loses her child, who neglects her other children and does not see her husband, rising from where she fell… Because while searching for her son, no one else believes that he will be found, but she does not give up; she finds her son after three years. This time, her adolescent daughter says that she hates her brother. Karsu, who married a rich man at a young age and has never had a job in her life, moves from Adana to Istanbul with her children when she learns that her husband is having an affair with her best friend.

Karsu, who wants to start her life anew, to make up for the time she has lost with her son, now Deniz, to give her daughters a good life and to be reborn from the ashes, realises something very important: Her own strength.

The story of a mother becoming stronger for her children is a story with a global resonance… After all, the strongest woman in the world is a mother.


The highest-rated works of the season were the stories of children who are kidnapped and greeted as criminals when they return home years later.

Wild Heart, starring Halit Özgür Sarı, Simay Barlas, Dolunay Soysert and Yurdaer Okur, is another series that started in the September season and uses the theme of missing children. Yaman, who grows up as a street child, helps everyone who is lower than him, lives in a shack with three people who do not have a family like him and acts as an older brother to them, is actually the child of one of the richest families in Türkiye who disappeared 15 years ago. His real name is Ali. After Ali’s disappearance, his mother, Neslihan, becomes resentful of life. She locks herself in her room. She ignores her other children… The twins, who want to be loved by their mother, try every avenue. But the name Ali always comes out of their mother’s mouth. The reason for Çağla and Alaz’s lack of love is Ali’s ghost, and they hate him so much.

15 years later, by chance, Yaman is revealed to be Ali and moves into his family’s house. As a street child, he could not even find hot water to bathe in, but suddenly the best cars, houses and clothes were put in front of him. He is asked to use the name Ali.

It is all too much for Yaman. The family environment he longs for does not exist in this house. His mother loves him, but his sisters and his father hate him. In this process, Yaman’s belief in the sanctity of the concept of family is tested.

wild heart


“The place where all evil is done with good intentions: the family.” The Family, starring Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ, Serenay Sarıkaya and Nur Sürer, introduced viewers to a mother who would do all the evil in the world for the sake of her son.

Hülya Soykan, a narcissistic character dependent on her son, did not hesitate to get her hands dirty in order to tear her son Aslan away from Devin, with whom she was in love. She imposed her own truths on her children and punished those who defied her. Hülya was a true Machiavellian, believing that “the end justifies the means”.

But Devin and Aslan were both strong characters. If one fell, so did the other, and if one roared, the other roared even louder. So there was love, understanding, toxic motherhood and power struggles on screen. The concept of family lost its sanctity in this series.


Once again this season, series based on real-life stories dominated our screens.

Golden Boy, in which all members of the family live in a waterside mansion and the patriarchal way of life, in which the elders of the family control everyone from eating to entering house, was the most popular series of 2023.

In the series, where Ferit, the rich and spoilt child of the family, was married to Seyran from Gaziantep in an arranged marriage to get away from the fast nightlife, everyone went behind each other’s backs.

Ferit and Seyran were both in love and in a power struggle. They were not alone in their relationship with its ups and downs. Everyone from the maid to the great-grandfather interfered in their marriage.

Each man always had another lover from the past. On top of that, Ferit’s ex-girlfriend was pregnant. But just like Seyran, the audience was captivated by Ferit’s sympathy.

Whenever the two came together, the sound was always screaming. All sorts of intrigues were going on in the family in the name of favour. Seyran’s father Kazım wanted money in exchange for his daughter. There was every shade of violence in every environment he entered.

Filled with love, forbidden relationships, intrigue, violence, wealth, class differences and narcissistic characters, Golden Boy broke the record for toxic relationships.



Also based on a true story, Lost in Love tells the jealous story of Naz, Mete and İncila, who spent their childhood together.

In this story, all the family members also live in the same waterside mansion. The main thread of the series is Naz’s unhealthy psychology, her devotion and hatred for İncila, her obsession with Mete and her fears. The rivalry between Naz’s and Mete’s families is a driving force in the series. However, İncila’s relationship with Mete while she was Naz’s maid turns the series into a story of the upper and lower classes. The lower-class maid falls in love with the rich girl’s fiancé, and an unhealthy, screaming, uninhibited relationship develops between the three of them.


Another series with a similar theme is Safir.

In the series which is shot in Cappadocia, where the whole family lives in the same mansion, the maid’s daughter Feraye falls in love with the son of the mansion, Yaman. Yaman believes that he and Feraye will marry. However, a crime he and his brother are involved in will remain a secret between them. Learning this secret, Feraye’s stepmother Cemile forces Yaman to marry her daughter Aleyna.

Life stops for Feraye, and she is also pregnant. Yaman’s older brother Ateş also asks her to marry him. Thus, an alternating love quadrilateral is established between the siblings. Thanks to these series, it has been realised that clichés such as the story of the lower coming up, the intrigue and the siblings’ love war are always the formula that works.


Last year there were class differences, impossible loves, conservative and secular conflicts, lost children and adjustment, traumatised individuals, toxic families, noisy loves and an endless power struggle on screen!

At first, all the characters were enemies, but over time, their hearts grew together. Then evil came and conquered everything again.

This content was written by Oya Doğan ( and was published in the international edition of Episode Magazine for MIPCOM.


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