Nine Turkish army officers have been accused of damaging Turkey’s patriotism and values after using HBO TV series Game of Thrones as educational material in English language classes.
The popular show was screened to cadets at İzmir's Maltepe Military Academy, reports the Turkish daily newspaper Hürriyet. Students aged between 16 and 19 had to complete assignments after watching the series.
However after ten weeks of classes, an anonymous letter was sent to the academy’s administration, complaining that the show involved "corrupted and perverted" sex scenes and depicted Turks as "a barbarian tribe with perverted religious rituals." Turkish media believe that the letter was penned by parents of one of the cadets.
Game of Thrones, an adaptation of a book series by George R. R. Martin, is set in the fantasy medieval world of Westeros. Different peoples living there are loosely based on real-world cultures.
The barbaric and superstitious Dothraki featured in the setting are a mixture of a number of nomadic cultures from Mongols to indigenous Americans. Ironically, according to Martin, their resemblance to pre-Muslim Turks is coincidental.
The TV show was a huge success with the audience, although some critics have slammed the show’s use of nudity and sex scenes.
The Turkish military academy investigation into the complaint found the series inappropriate as educational material. The final report said the show contained "pornographic elements" and "perverted and violent ways of sexual intercourse." The report also said the show encouraged the consumption of alcohol.
"The show in question may damage the evolving individual in ways [which are] extremely difficult to amend in the future," the report said.
The investigators also found the depiction of Dothraki insulting to Turkish values, saying that "even though it is not directly said, it is easily understood by the audience."
"Our nation is shown as barbarian with perverted religious beliefs and customs," the report read. "The screening of this show may discourage students from their occupation, as well as weaken patriotic emotions."
Initially a military prosecutor declined to press charges against the officers responsible for the screening of the TV show. But the investigation was re-launched by the Defense Ministry after further complaints.