In Turkey, there are many young K-pop fans, angering conservatives, who claim that K-pop “encourages homosexuality”.
Turkish media reports that the Ministry of Family and Social Affairs will assess Korean pop music, which conservative party experts see as a threat to Turkish youth. “The ministry is looking into allegations that K-pop causes young people to lose their traditional values, leave their families and follow a ‘gender-free’ lifestyle,” the Milliyet newspaper wrote.
According to a Twitter report published in September 2020, Turkey is one of the countries using the most K-pop-related hashtags. They comment on thousands of songs like On – BTS, Obsession – EXO.
A scholar who studies the anti-K-pop movement in Turkey, said that there are millions of K-pop fans living in Turkey. However, among these millions of fans, there are special elements, such as two girls who left their families to go to Korea, following the Hallyu wave. Although this is an isolated case, it is enough to incite conservative groups that are trying to stigmatize K-pop as an LGBT+ movement and an “excessive” liberal society.
Turkish officials believe anti-LGBT statements often go hand-in-hand with claims to protect teenagers and children from “gay lifestyles”. As students are forced to stay indoors and learn online because of the pandemic, a teachers association encourages students to draw rainbows and hang them on windows. Warned of the significance of the rainbow – a global symbol of the LGBT social movement – the Turkish Ministry of Education intervened to stop the campaign. Turkey’s media watchdog, the Supreme Council of Radio and Television, keeps a close eye on gay characters in the series watched by children and teenagers. Netflix, which has more than 3 million subscribers in Turkey, has more than once had to give in to pressure from the board, withdrawing entire series or changing scripts to remove gay characters.
Keskin added that K-pop groups, especially BTS, have more than 20 million followers on social media, and many of their fans are young people in Muslim clerical schools, which are considered training places. created the “pious generation” of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
But we should avoid painting an overly rosy picture of K-pop, warns Aylin Sener, a journalist who follows the “Hallyu” wave. She pointed out that the world of Korean popular music has a dark side in which singers undergo rigorous and rigorous training, are subject to strict dietary restrictions, and long-term contracts forcing them to the management company – which strictly controls the idol’s private life. At least seven artists, mostly women, have committed suicide in the past three years.