Love, revenge, family, intrigue, action, fantasy, mystic… Turkish series never fail to offer a roller coaster of emotions. The constant Hollywood-like drama, which can be borderline surreal from time to time, attracts audiences from all around the globe, ranging from the Middle East to Europe, from Central Asia to Latin America. Reflecting the cultural variety that is almost unique to Turkey, the Turkish series give global viewers an insight into the interesting lives of the residents of this peninsula.
Starting with streaming the already existing Turkish series with subtitles for non-Turkish speakers to enjoy, Netflix launched its first original Turkish series in 2018, The Protector. Since then, it aired many more originals along with the non-originals, as it attracted more interest from local and global viewers. Offering a wide selection of topics ranging from fantasy, history, and crime to love, comedy, and family, viewers cannot help but hop on to this deliciously emotional ride.
Here, we have listed some of the best Turkish series on Netflix to binge for you. So, grab your favourite snacks and let’s dive in.
Some of the Best Turkish Series on Netflix
1. The Protector, 2018
The first Netflix original Turkish series. Starring one of the most admired actors, Çağatay Ulusoy, The Protector is a mix of action, fantasy, and science fiction with local cultural elements, adapted from a Turkish mystery novel. Hakan is a common young man living in Istanbul who is known and beloved by the local population. He suddenly discovers his special powers and that he is the inheritor of an ancient secret order that is responsible for protecting Istanbul from the evil group called the ‘immortals’.
The Protector is filled with mystery, action, adventure, fantasy, and a historical storyline that goes far back to the Ottoman era, a sneak peek for Turkish history enthusiasts. It is a show to binge-watch with short episodes and a full adrenalin ride.
2. The Tailor, 2023
Once again starring Çağatay Ulusoy, this latest Netflix original sheds light on the mix of the Western lifestyle of a famous tailor who grew up in a village in Eastern Turkey. Peyami goes back to his village in Kars from Istanbul over the sudden news of his grandfather’s demise. There he faces the dark family secrets that he carries back to his gaudy life in Istanbul, where he takes on a project to sew a wedding dress for his childhood friend’s fiancée, and things start to get really complicated.
The Tailor, inspired by a real-life story, can be called a psychological thriller with its psychologically disturbed characters. It also displays the dilemma of the young Turkish generation who are caught between their Western lifestyle and their Anatolian upbringing. With an intricate storyline, The Tailor keeps the viewer at the edge of their seat and gathers a big audience in such a short time, as it is at the top of the ten most watched on Netflix Turkey these days.
3. Love 101, 2020
Love 101 takes us back to our high school years, the years we miss the most and also the ones we never want to relive. It is the story of four misfits who constantly run the risk of getting expelled, and one exemplary student. All but one teacher wants them out, and that one teacher decides to transfer to another school. The four students, in need of some support, decide to make that one teacher fall in love with another teacher so that she does not leave the school, so they want the help of the good kid and hence start the story of their crossed paths.
Love 101 brings us back to our first loves, the anger of our teen years, our rage against the machine. With an inside look at the world that we were once part of, it takes us back in time, makes us laugh, cry and be angry with a similar heat of those ages. Being set in the late 90s, it comes along with nostalgia too. It is a series to be consumed as a snack but not easy to forget with all the awakening emotions.
4. Ethos, 2020
Meryem is a cleaner who is in love with his employer. After her psychological problems start to show physical symptoms, she starts seeing a therapist. All seems normal until now; however, Meryem wears the Islamic headscarf and the psychologist, being a ‘modern secular woman’, has prejudices, and she goes on to complain to her therapist about having a consultant with the headscarf.
Shedding light on the polarisation of Turkish society between the conservative and the secular individuals, Ethos tells the story of different individuals from polar opposites crossing paths. The conflicting identities living in the same city and somehow sharing parts of their lives is the typical Turkish experience, being a Muslim-majority country with century-old secularist ideals in which half of the population barely integrated. Both sides have prejudices against the other, and this series displays the typical “us and them” dispute. It is a heavy watch, but the local viewers absolutely love it and feel that it reflects the reality of Turkish society.
5. Anotherself, 2022
A cynical doctor’s entire stance changes after a spiritual experience. Ada is a doctor, but she is helpless because she cannot treat her friend who has cancer. Her friend decides to seek alternative treatment and finds a spiritual guide who holds sessions that he claims to heal the soul and the body by diving into the unresolved trauma of our ancestors. Ada absolutely refuses the validity of this practice as a scientist; however, she has no option but to support her friend. They take a trip together to a seaside town where Ada sees a familiar face from her past.
Mysticism, psychology, friendship, relationships, and trauma are the main components of this series. It also sheds light on the effect of generational trauma, especially on women, considering the thousands of years of oppression of this gender group. It beautifully demonstrates how women carry the pain of their ancestors to their more liberated modern lives. While it sounds like a heavy watch at first glance, the joy of the women, despite all their pain, brings wonderful colour to the story.
6. Midnight at the Pera Palace, 2022
Photo Credits: @netflix
In the historic Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, where Agatha Christie’s mysterious 11-day disappearance is said to have taken place, an equally mysterious story is told in this historical mystery series. Esra, a journalist, goes to the hotel to write a piece about the place. After a heavy rainfall starts, she is given a room to stay in the palace, but when midnight hits, she finds herself in 1919. There she must prevent an assassination attempt on the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Her series of adventures begins at that point.
Midnight at the Pera Palace creates an atmosphere akin to Agatha Christie novels while also taking us back in Turkish history. It is a colourful series with mystery, traditional clothes, music, and the adventurous spirit of the founding years of the Republic.
7. Hot Skull, 2022
Displaying the typical feature of a dystopian series, Hot Skull revolves around the main character who is immune to an epidemic that spreads through verbal communication. Murat, a former linguist, hides in his mother’s house to be sheltered from the chaotic Istanbul under the epidemic. However, after his secret comes out, an institution with a mission to combat the epidemic comes after him. While running from the institution, Murat tries to solve the secrets of this condition.
Sci-fi is not a common genre for Turkish series, nevertheless, with its amazing cast and cleverly written scenario, which is adapted from a Turkish book, Hot Skull is a thrill to watch. Set in Istanbul with a dystopic and dark atmosphere, it becomes a series to be finished overnight under the blanket with the lights turned off.
8. The Club, 2022
A Jewish woman in the 1950s Istanbul is released from prison after 17 years and tries to reconnect with her daughter, who grew up in an orphanage. Telling the story of this mother-daughter with flashbacks, The Club reflects the family conflict on the individual level along with societal cleavages and difficulties these two Jewish women experience, particularly on the basis of their Jewish identity. Additionally, Matilda, being a woman and a lower socio-economic class worker, puts up a gender and class struggle while trying to bond with her daughter.
Inspired by a true life story, The Club is a fresh breath on the rising sector of Turkish internet series by shedding light on a small community that still suffers from stereotypes and discrimination. Taking us back to the colourful world of 1950s Istanbul, it touches on many sensitive points of Turkish society.
9. Who Were We Running From, 2023
Another book adaptation offers a dramatic story of a mother and daughter that are always on the run. She takes them to various hotels and refuses to stay at a house always to be mobile. The two main characters do not have a name as the author of the book chose not to, but the mother calls her daughter ‘Bambi’, as in their favourite book. The mother isolates her daughter from the outside world, with a constant paranoia that someone will try and hurt them. The mother is not reluctant to get her hands dirty for the protection of her daughter. As they cause a chaotic incident at every hotel, they are constantly on the run from to police and from their past.
A mother’s obsession with her daughter’s protection brings problems between the two in this series. Lack of communication, asocial behaviours, constant paranoia, and dark mood are some symptoms of their twisted mother-daughter relationship. In this series, trauma, suspense, and crime come together to offer the viewer a story to be remembered.
10. Shahmaran, 2023
Şahsu becomes the main character of a prophecy when she travels to Adana, southeast Turkey, to confront her grandfather upon the death of her mother. There, she finds herself in the middle of a community that is a descendant of Shahmaran and is called ‘Mar’.
Shahmaran is a mythical creature who is half woman and half snake in Turkish-Iranian mythology. She is the ruler of the Marans, a snake community that lives in peace. The sultan kills and eats Shahmaran to be cured of a disease, and the legend says the snakes still do not know about the death of Shahmaran, and if they find out, they will invade the region. The Mar community believes that Şahsu will complete the prophecy in the legend of Shahmaran.
With its mystic atmosphere and insight into Eastern mythology, Shahmaran is the right Turkish series for you to enjoy Eastern mysticism while offering an inside look into the legends that still prevail in certain regions of Turkey.
Here, we have listed a selection of the best Turkish series on Netflix for you to binge-watch. Genres ranging from fantasy to mystery, crime to drama, romance to dystopia, Turkish series have everything you are looking for in a series. Global audiences, as well as the local viewers, are growing every day with subtitles in many languages offered by Netflix.
Starting its journey in the last few years, the Turkish series on Netflix have gained incredible momentum with a growing number of original productions. If you are curious about Turkish culture, or just want to be a part of the creative productions of amazing Turkish writers and directors, this list is a great place to start for you. Also, make sure to check our Turkish Movies blog for more option!