Turkey Mulls Banning Dating, Marriage, Reality TV Programs

Ankara- Programs of dating, marriage and reality TV in Turkey are being increasingly rejected by the community’s conservatives. This rejection compelled the government to mull a ban on such programs showed on private TV channels despite being censured by the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK).

Although the programs attract millions of spectators, a remarkable audience calls for their suspension because they contradict with traditions and customs; the government has received thousands of complaints from citizens who clearly urged it to stop these programs.

Commenting on this debatable issue, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Numan Kurtulmuş said Reality TV and talk shows that focus on bringing together women and men for marriage purposes have high ratings.

But, there are some western programs that work on distorting the family concept and its values. Therefore, the government will work on addressing this situation through an urgent decree, he added.

Kurtulmuş noted that the authorities received 120,000 complaints on these programs and that the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council received negative comments from 10,691 citizens.

In February, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Authority (Diyanet) slammed the talk shows and considered them a threat to family values.

Programs of social talk shows, mainly those on marriage and dating, attract many categories of spectators; they target youth, women and the elderly, and can compete with Turkish soap operas.

However, social relations among women and men and disputes that erupt occasionally among the participants because of jealousy, and rumors spread on social media websites about inappropriate relations, compelled Diyanet to raise awareness on these programs, saying they are not a good measure for marriage, which is a sacred bond.

During a unified Friday sermon in 800,000 mosques across the country, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Authority waged a campaign against these programs by speaking about marriage in Islam and the importance of moral-based relations, noting that these programs motivate people on inappropriate issues that destroy the family.

Diyanet shed lights on thousands of failed marriages because of betrayal, domestic violence, and violence against women, which may end by death.

Official statistics showed that 2015 witnessed more than 131,000 divorce cases that damaged 110,000 children, and around 630,000 weddings.

Programs of dating and marriage have attracted millions across Turkey including women, youth, and men; these programs host people looking for a life partner from different age categories.

However, some appear in such programs for the purpose of fame and not marriage, while others choose to carry out relations outside marriage, leading to scandals on social media. These scandals are provoking anger among conservative people.