Can Maraşlı Run Away From Love?

Eda Savaseri
11 min readMar 15, 2021


“If he touched her, he couldn’t talk to her, if he loved her he couldn’t leave, if he spoke he couldn’t listen, if he fought he couldn’t win.”
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

On the third episode of Maraşlı, in the grey room Celal is asked, “What is love?” He answers, “love keeps you from being yourself.” When asked if he has ever been in love, he doesn’t give a clear answer, he just says, “the worst thing about love is not knowing where it’s gonna lead.”

Love Like There’s No Tomorrow

Maraşlı is a dark show, and the protagonist Celal doesn’t seem to be interested in love at all. Doesn’t it always happen that way? We mostly find love and other things when we’re not looking. Maraşlı does seem to have started looking for trouble willingly, trying to get closer to the Türel family by using Mahur but right from the start we know he will find himself to have fallen in love as quickly as Mahur does.

It all started with a plan. But love is a dangerous game.

What better way to bring romance to a crime drama than include great music and poetry. On my previous piece I talked about the poem Maraşlı read to his daughter and some other literary references included in the show. Another beautiful poem and song have been used in the same scene on the third episode. When Maraşlı is trying to reduce Mahur’s fever, she asks him to read a poem to her like he did to Zeliş. He reads a poem by Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi. Here’s a rough translation I made.

There are other tomorrows.


There is another beauty on your face today,

There’s another taste on your lips today,

another glory in your height.

Today your red rose is from another branch.

Your moon didn’t fit the sky today.

Your chest, like the heavens, is wider today.

Which side did you get up this morning, tell me,

There is another fight in the world because of you,

another departure in the world.

We saw through your eyes

That gazelle that defies the lions,

There is another plain of that gazelle today

out of both worlds

Does the person who loves has no feet?

Here immortality is closed to him.

He flies away with it above.

Don’t search for it in the sea of ​​your eyes.

That pearl is in another sea.

Who knows, this heart may love today,

who knows tomorrow will be loved.

There are other tomorrows in the essence of my heart.

-Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi

You don’t need me telling you about Rumi. He’s widely famous outside of Turkey. He is actually Persian but he did write in Turkish as well and he lived in Turkey, in Anatolia, so it’s safe to say he is one of those great Anatolian men I talked about in my first Maraşlı piece. He died in 1273 in Konya and his tomb is there as well as a museum where you can still visit.

Mahur doesn’t trust her own heart’s voice.

Rumi’s message is always inclusive, always positive and loving. That’s why his legacy lasted for centuries and his work is still admired. It’s important to note that sufism and mevlevi order have been initiated after his death. He was a humble man, a poet and a true lover of God. He never claimed to be anything else. His most famous work is Masnavi which consists of 6 books. It’s known for its simple description of complicated matters and its clear and lyrical language. It also includes a lot of stories which are really interesting.

In the poem, Other Tomorrows, Rumi didn’t specifically refer to a lover at all. According to his belief his greatest love was Allah, he believed in divine love only. Of course when we read his poems we may think of a specific lover but that’s not exactly what he means. It’s interesting how Celal once says to Mahur “love is too divine to be between two human beings”. I wonder where he gets that :)

Interesting to note that this part of the poem is repeated on episode 8 after Mahur leaves Celal for New York, as he looks at the plane she embarked.

Does the person who loves has no feet? Here immortality is closed to him. He flies away with it above. Don’t search for it in the sea of ​​your eyes. That pearl is in another sea.

Ending of episode 8 where the last lines of Rumi’s poem are repeated.

It’s not hard to imagine Celal is in love with Mahur. The only problem is that it wasn’t planned. As a feverish Mahur is lying down on a bed and Celal is reading this poem to her, I couldn’t help but think how love on film is much more interesting when it’s forbidden and impossible. We almost enjoy the tragedy of a sad love story more than a happy one. Why do you think is that?

Even when love is divine, it doesn’t mean wordly love doesn’t exist. Because we love God’s creation as we love him. It can’t be the same kind of love, of course. But still, we can love a mortal too. That is why in the poem, Rumi seems to be speaking of a woman. All human attributes are clear signs of that.

Why are sad love stories better than happy ones?

What strikes me with this choice of a poem other than Rumi’s love philosophy being completely inline with Maraşlı, is the sadness and hope in the poem that coexist simultaneously. Even the name suggests there will be another chance to love and be loved. But then clearly it’s not this one. And that precious pearl is in another sea. Whoever is in love, has no feet and is not immortal therefore love is not something we can run away from.

What Is Love If Not Beautiful Memories

Maraşlı and Mahur are very different from each other in every aspect. Their outlook on love is different too. The scene in the mountain house provides another proof of that when Mahur says her heart never told her the truth and Celal replies, there is no such thing as “the right person”, there are only “beautiful memories”. When he replies to her like this she says,” you shattered my heart” and he replies, “sorry, someone had to do it”. I call this appropriate foreshadowing at its best.

Celal, needing a breath of fresh air, feeling overwhelmed with emotion after reading Rumi’s poem to Mahur.

After reading the poem, Maraşlı goes outside and almost needs to have a moment with himself. With unwanted emotions rising up in him, this beautiful scene is completed with the rest of the song that has started playing in the background in the beginning of this scene while he was trying to reduce her fever. Below is a translation of the lyrics.

ASH - Song by Cem Adrian and Mark Eliyahu

Something is bleeding inside of me
The wound of a sharp farewell aches
Something is fading on my face
It's not the same, the color of hope is fading

Somewhere in my heart is a forest burning
The forlorn songs you left are silent
Poems are always resentful, prayers are not healing
A sentence nailed to my life

What's in your heart becomes ash by time
By burning, by burning
By burning, by burning

What's in your heart becomes ash by time
By burning, by burning
By burning, by burning

When this song played in episode 3, I couldn’t comprehend why Celal was so emotional and overwhelmed. Now that we know part of his mission was to make Mahur fall in love with him we can understand what’s bleeding inside him. It’s guilt. If guilt was not enough, he also is falling in love with her. When we can’t be happily in love because of circumstances, what’s left for us but to grieve for something we are not allowed to have. This song was the perfect choice, shows clearly how someone would feel because of a love he/she needs to bury deep down.

Lover, You Are A Sad Song Inside My Heart

Can two very different people fall in love? Of course they can. Some say a soulmate is nothing but a missing part in our soul. We don’t necessarily look for someone who compliments us but rather we are drawn to someone who fills a hole in our being, who heals us in the most unexpected way.

Maraşlı has forced his way into Mahur’s life but she doesn’t know it.

Celal repeats a couple of times that Mahur is a beautiful name. It is indeed. Mahur is the name given to a Turkish music makam. Makam is a system of melody types used in Turkish classical music. Makams provide rules for composing and for structure of the songs. There are many makams, but Mahur is one of the favorites, it’s a feel-good, mostly happy sounding makam. It’s at least 6–7 centuries old. Turkish classical music leads back to the Ottomans and is said to have inspiration from Byzantian and Arabic music as well.

I find that in Maraşlı, Celal represents the Turkish folk music which I want to touch upon later in a different piece, and Mahur represents the Turkish Classical Music. If you want to hear what Mahur makam sounds like, here’s a song for you.

Mahur makam is said to be healing as well. Mostly because it has a feel-good sound. This made me think, how Zeliş instantly started getting better when she met Mahur. I really like the name they chose for her character because although in the beginning she was a bit obnoxious, as the story goes along and Celal starts to fall in love with her, bit by bit we start having better feelings towards her as well. I feel like I can relate to her a lot more now compared to the first 3–4 episodes. Alina and Burak are doing an excellent job, holding back where they need to and not falling to the traps of trying to hard to be likeable.

Zeliş and Mahur had and instant connection.

Episode 4 is when the source of Mahur’s name is revealed to us. I first thought the inspiration for her name was the mahur makam but it was actually another poem. Mahur’s mother reads the poem in one of the video recordings she left her. The poem belongs to Attila İlhan and is called Mahur Beste (Mahur Melody). It also has been made into a beautiful song later by Ahmet Kaya. Here’s the translation of the poem. I want to say sorry in advance, these translations are extremely hard because transmitting the feeling of a poem is nearly impossible.


The festival broke up, a bitter wind remained alone in the garden
Müjgan and I cry, while that mahur melody plays
Friends gone, the feast is over, neither the old excitement nor the speed
In our lonely sad loneliness timely or ill-timed
Müjgan and I cry, while that mahur melody plays

They were young saplings that had sprung from a fire forest
They would sculpt light from the sun, they were tough men
Rough smiles churned the light
They left before evening and then it got dark

The longing of the reeds does not end, much later, much later
The uncertainty of the later adds a dimension to them.
Maybe it will be a pitch black consolation to those who remained
The nights get longer, in preparation for autumn.

-Attila İlhan

Poor Mahur finding out about her mother’s real lover.

One of Turkey’s most loved artists, Attila İlhan was a novelist, poet, screen writer, journalist and an important thinker. He had enormous contribution to Turkish literature and poetry. A lot of his work has been translated to English and I highly recommend checking his work. In Turkish culture he has poems a lot more well known than Mahur Beste but when late musician Ahmet Kaya wrote music for this poem it found new life with his composition and his voice.

Ahmet Kaya is a Turkish-Kurdish folk singer and musician. He wanted to make music in his native language which was Kurdish but at the time he wasn’t allowed to do it. After some unfortunate events he had to leave Turkey and move to Paris. He died from a heart attack in Paris when he was only 43 years old. A tragic ending for a great musician. He is known to make great music for other well known poems too.

My go to song when I want to ugly cry on my own. Also great companion to Turkish rakı.

What was the poem Mahur Beste about? Attila İlhan told the story of the poem later. It was after the Turkish military memorandum in 1971, later in 1972 May 6th young political activists Deniz Gezmiş, Hüseyin İnan and Yusuf Aslan were executed. Attila İlhan heard these sad news on the radio. He was in İzmir, he took the ferry and as he thought about these young men, the first lines of the poem came to him.

In the poem he says “Müjgan and I cry” which many people thought that he cried with a lady called Müjgan because Müjgan is a woman’s name, but he later explained Müjgan also means eyelash and what he meant was clearly different and more profound. He was crying for these young men, who had started as students, in school festivals and having fun but it had gotten dirty and ugly and their lives were taken from them so early. They looked like tough guys but really they were young saplings. No wonder Ahmet Kaya adored this poem and wanted to compose it. May they all live in peace now, Deniz, Hüseyin, Yusuf, Attila and Ahmet.

Looking at the sea should count as therapy too.

Dear reader, I will leave you here. I hope you enjoyed this. I hope that I could do these beautiful songs and poems some justice. There is so much love and pain involved in all these works. Maraşlı is using all of these to the maximum extent and at the moment has become my favorite show. Next piece I’ll write will be about the symbolism in the Maraşlı series, so if you wonder what “the stag” we keep seeing means stay tuned. Find me on Twitter at @edsavaseri let me know what you think about this piece or the show in general. It makes me really happy to read your comments. I feel a little less lonely each time.

Have a wonderful day wherever in the world you are right now. I’m sending you love and peace from a very warm Istanbul day.




Eda Savaseri

I'm a copywriter from Istanbul. I love writing about Turkish TV shows, TV series, movies, literature. Follow me for analysis and/or reviews.