After The Club, I’ve been hooked on Ethos, another fine Turkish TV series on Netflix (Berkun Oya, 2020), again popular both in Turkey and abroad. Among many reviews  is this perceptive critique by Haziran Düzkan on the feminist site 5Harfliler, from which I borrow below.
Here’s a trailer:
The Turkish title Bir başkadır (“One of a kind”) alludes to Ayten Alpman’s 1972 song Memleketim (“My homeland”). Set in Istanbul, the story exposes the faultlines within Turkish society. It’s centred around the mesmerising character of Meryem, played by Öykü Karayel. At once naïve and astute, Meryem is a part-time cleaner who lives on the outskirts of Istanbul with her ill-tempered brother Yasin and his traumatised wife Ruhiye. After experiencing fainting spells, Meryem consults the uptight psychiatrist Peri, whose culture is quite different: educated, affluent, and secular, she is prejudiced against openly religious people.
Peri herself sees the therapist Gülbin, to whom she complains about the growing conservatism in Turkish society. Gülbin, from a Kurdish family, has a fraught relationship with her headscarved sister, a supporter of the ruling AKP Party; and she is having a desultory affair with the feckless playboy Sinan—as is the soap-opera star Melisa, who has some wise words to offer Peri when they meet socially. Meryem is under the influence of the benign hodja of the local mosque—whose daughter Hayrünnisa is a gay electronica fan.
Gradually the paths of this disparate group of urban, working, lonely women intersect; their attempts to seek meaningful relationships with men only exacerbate their sense of alienation.
The first episode ends—somewhat obscurely for outsiders like me—with footage from a concert by Ferdi Özbeğen, evoking a nostalgia for “old Turkey”—as Haziran Düzkan explains, as the gay son of an Armenian mother and a migrant father born in Crete, Özbeğen too carried a social burden on his shoulders. Düzkan also notes that while the finale offers a certain redemption, the (female) characters’ triumphs are petty, suggesting that the real “triumph” is that of the (male) director, “for showing us how much we missed talking about the society rather than getting sick and tired of talking about those in power”.
The filming is distinctive, with evocative scenes of the Istanbul landscape, and static portraits of the characters facing the camera framed against a sumptuous colour palette.
And there can be no better incentive to learn Turkish than to relish the nuance of Meryem’s speech in the exquisite dialogues with her therapist and with her suitor Hilmi.