Turkish military court overrules decision to expel captain over ‘Game of Thrones’ screening
This publicity image released by HBO shows Emilia Clarke in a scene from Game of Thrones. A military high court has overruled a decision given last August to expel Captain İskender Gülbahar for screening episodes of the hit TV show. AP Photo/HBO, Keith BernsteinA military high court has overruled a decision given last August to expel Captain İskender Gülbahar for screening episodes of hit TV show Game of Thrones, stating that the ruling was contrary to law, daily Hürriyet has reported.
Four army officers were expelled from the army in August 2012 for screening Game of Thrones as part of an English class at İzmir’s Maltepe Academy, after a two-stage trial process. Charges were initially dismissed by a military prosecutor before a Defense Ministry instruction decision reintroduced the charges.
Officers were accused of charges related to “insulting Turkishness” in reference to a group depicted in the show that authorities deemed to be portraying Turkish people. The final report, released by a committee of instructors, also claimed that the series contained “pornographic elements” and “perverted and violent methods of sexual intercourse.” The report also mentioned that the show encouraged the consumption of alcohol.
Game of Thrones was also found to be “insulting to Turkishness” by the committee. “Even though it is not directly said, it is easily understood by the audience,” the report stated.
Three of the four expelled officers had already started retirement proceedings before the investigation was launched, which rendered the expulsion void, but Gülbahar was forced out, prompting him to reapply to the higher court for appeal.
A majority in the court ruled in Gülbahar’s favor, stating that the previous ruling lacked a basis in legal principles and failed to apply a proportional punishment for the deed.
“Our institution has accepted that Game of Thrones, despite being aired on national TV channels, should not be screened in classes. Moral values and discipline are of great value to military personnel. However, forcing an individual out of the Armed Forces without considering the quality and the quantity of the move is not possible,” the court said.
The court added that the August decision was “against the public good, disproportionate, and in violation of the equality principle.”