It would be unreasonable to say that Asli was not special. There is no positive connotation to the use of that word, but she was certainly not like the rest. While everyone made power plays an integral part of their lives, no one lived for that. Muge and Gul were hungry for more power and were jealous of Lale, but they never insisted that success at the workplace defined them. Muge had been scorned, and she blamed Lale for it, but she was content to be doing her job as usual. She did not reach out and grab or create opportunities the way Asli was doing. Please note that this is not praise for Asli, but a note of her limits.
Asli tells Yusuf in As the Crow Flies season 2 that she grew up in a very conservative place where she was always told that her dreams were invalid because she was a woman. That initial discouragement is what made her so stubborn about being successful. When people constantly try to tell you something about yourself that is contrary to how you feel, you either accept that as your reality or stop caring altogether. Asli dealt with the latter. In season 1, there was a scene where Asli was watching Lale on TV while her mother prepared to cook. Her mother called the show stupid, but Asli couldn’t take her eyes off the screen. We are given very little about Asli’s background, but we have managed to guess a few things from what she has said and what has been shown. Usually, in most households, parents insist that children watch the news and not movies or other television. But in Asli’s case, this was different. She has admitted that being a girl came in the way of her dreams. Maybe Asli’s fixation with the news was seen as unnecessary considering that no one imagined she would do anything other than get married. Lale Kiran had a huge fan base, and Asli had always seen herself in her idol’s shoes. She admits that she saved up to buy a pencil skirt like Lale Kiran and wanted to be a journalist because of her. Admittedly, all of this is still normal. But Asli wanted more than that.
For a starving man, there is nothing more important than food. Similarly, the way Asli was so adamant that professional success meant everything in the world makes us think that she has been undermined her entire life. We wish we were told more about Asli’s family. Does she have any, or did she run away from home to realize her dreams, or was there something else? There is a certain desperation in Asli and her insistence that she cannot rely on anyone, even emotionally. It is part of why she treats Yusuf so badly and why she felt so lonely at the end.
The fact is that since Asli grew up in a patriarchal house, her ideas of power were skewed. She saw the men having all the power, and for no other reason than that, they were granted that by a system. Instead of addressing this logically, Asli applied that logic to Lale’s position. Asli has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that actual talent and skills are needed for the job. She simply thinks that it is about being in the right place at the right time. Maybe this thinking started at home? Probably her father was a bad man, but because he was a man, he had all the power, and Asli learned the wrong lesson from this situation.
When Asli got the life she wanted, she realized the other side of the coin, which she had never believed existed. She had only ever seen the power and the respect it brought with it, not the struggle to keep it going or even what it took to earn it fairly. That is why she was completely unprepared for the reality of it. Lale had worked hard for many years, and she had built up the charm and persona that made her such a good anchor. Asli had done none of that, and the only reason she was given that job was because she was instrumental in Gul and Muge’s final plan at the end of season 1. Asli had not built her value in the network, and she still went about it the wrong way. Bringing back Guliz was her biggest mistake. Asli was focused on getting rid of Gul, not realizing that Guliz wouldn’t become her ally automatically. This is simply not how team building works, but Asli had never learned that lesson. Contrary to that, Lale not only had a supportive family at home, but she also had friends she could count on and co-workers who helped her give her best.
Meanwhile, the entire office hated Asli, not just for what she had done to Lale but because she was extremely unpleasant even otherwise. Even the audience was interested in her because she gave them something scandalous, not because she was a good journalist. Essentially, Asli was getting loads of temporary validation, but she wasn’t getting respect or security, which is what she had been after this whole time. The loneliness of that is what pushed her to meet Lale. Asli believed that Lale would have the answers to the loneliness that came with being at the top, which she did, but it wasn’t what Asli was looking for. She refused to acknowledge that respect and security are continuous processes and that there is no instant solution to earn and keep them. Asli kept making mistake after mistake because she did not learn this lesson, and by the time she did, it was already too late.
The one good thing about Asli was her perseverance, which means that she is capable of learning from her mistakes. She tried something that did not work. Now, she is on another channel, doing a show that is more suited to her. Gul guarantees that it will bring in high numbers, but Asli is definitely more ambitious than that. Unlike Lale, she doesn’t enjoy journalism, but the feeling of being at the top means that she will want to go back to “The Other Side.” However, Asli will be a lot smarter this time, and perhaps she will learn to be a dependable person in the meantime.