Drama over Saudi-owned channel’s Turkish soaps

By AFP – Mar 08,2018 – JORDAN TIMES

ISTANBUL — Criticism mounted in Turkey on Wednesday over a decision by Saudi-owned broadcaster MBC to stop airing Turkish soap operas, stoking tensions between Ankara and Riyadh.

Viewers in the Arab world have in recent years become voracious consumers of Turkish soaps ranging from modern romances to historical dramas, enthralled by cliff-hanger plots and strong production values.

But the move by the Dubai-based MBC comes with tensions between Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Riyadh’s chief regional ally the United Arab Emirates soaring over issues ranging from Qatar to Israel.

MBC said it would replace Turkish soaps with “premium quality Arabic dramas that embody the values and traditions of the region”.

Turkish Culture Minister Numan Kurtulmus replied it was not up to politicians to “decide… who watches what film. Those times have passed”.

He was quoted by the state-run Anadolu news agency as saying that Turkish soap operas had made “rapid progress” in recent years and were now popular “all over the world”.

‘Blow to Turkey’s soft power’

Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO) head Ozturk Oran said Turkey would look for private alternatives to defy the satellite network’s ban because Turkish soaps were “making serious business”.

“As long as Turkish series keep their good quality, nobody can bar Turkish productions,” he said, quoted by Anadolu, adding that producers could use carriers other than MBC to promote Turkish series.

Mevlut Tezel, columnist in the pro-government daily Sabah, called the ban a “blow to Turkey’s soft power”, as well as its influence and popularity in the Middle East.

MBC spokesman Mazen Hayek told AFP on Tuesday that the network’s decision to stop an average of six hours a day of Turkish programming — mid-season — was driven by economic and cultural considerations.

Some Turkish soap operas have achieved phenomenal success in the Arab world, turning stars like actress Serenay Sarikaya and actor Kivanc Tatlitug into household names.

Actor Engin Altan, who stars in Ertugrul, a hit series on the earliest period of Ottoman history, told Al Jazeera the decision would “surely have an impact on the Turkish series industry”, although viewers could find other means to watch shows.

‘Anti-Turkey attitude’

Turkey has repeatedly bickered with the United Arab Emirates over the last months, even to the point of naming the street where Abu Dhabi’s embassy is located in Ankara after an Ottoman governor.

It has also been the key backer of Qatar since Saudi and the UAE led sanctions over the gas-rich emirate for allegedly supporting extremist groups, in proximity to Iran.

While Turkish officials have taken the gloves off in verbal onslaughts against Abu Dhabi — in particular Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed — Ankara has been more circumspect in comments on Saudi Arabia.

Turkey has been keen not to damage relations with the regional kingpin and its hugely powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

But pro-government media have adopted an increasingly strident tone against Riyadh in recent weeks, reaching a new peak with an angry editorial on Wednesday by a columnist close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Yeni Safak daily editor in chief Ibrahim Karagul warned Mohammed Bin Salman against any alliance with the UAE and, in particular, its pro-Washington crown prince.

“Standing against Turkey, taking an anti-Turkey attitude on behalf of the US and Israel, targeting Turkey on behalf of Mohammed Bin Zayed is going to win you nothing, but it will make you lose a lot,” said Karagul.

The Hurriyet daily linked the soap ban on MBC to Mohammad Bin Salman, with a headline saying: “The prince’s trouble — Turkish soap operas.”

MBC is controlled by Saudi businessman Walid Al Ibrahim, who was held for nearly three months in a sweeping anti-corruption drive targeting Saudi Arabia’s elite.

The Financial Times reported that authorities ordered him to hand over his controlling stake in MBC to secure his release.

Hurriyet claimed Ibrahim’s “first job” after his release was to impose the ban on the Turkish soaps.

SOURCE:   http://jordantimes.com/news/region/drama-over-saudi-owned-channel%E2%80%99s-turkish-soaps

10 replies

  1. Turkish soaps, also popular in Pakistan (dubbed into Urdu) actually – according to my opinion – give Turkey a bad name and a bad reputation. Real life in Turkey is not as corrupt as these ‘soaps’ show off. Why should any one be proud of it? (but money is money, whether Lira or Rupees, or Rials).

  2. Reblogged this on Progressive Islam. and commented:
    Rafiq— another new states of conflict—between Saudi and Turkey—Before that between Saudi and Qatar.

    What is wrong with Islamic teaching that not create peace but conflict.
    The world of Islam is getting worse and worse every year—the old conflict do not end yet— new conflict is coming.
    Very sad indeed

    Non Islamic countries are creating jobs in order young people can have job—on contrary Islamic leaders are busy to destroy each others— and not create job but destroy job for young Muslim. What is wrong?

    • Somi, did you ever watch a Turkish soap opera? It has nothing to do with Islam or Muslims. It shows a fictional degenerate and immoral society. Of course the Turkish society – like any other – is not perfect, but soap operas in any case are not showing real life but fiction. Fictionally indecency however is a bad example for millions or tens of millions of hundreds of millions of viewers. – And, yes, in TV dramas no one seems to go to work. But that is another topic really.

    • The Saudi dislike of Turkey also comes from the fact that Turkey supports Qatar. Again, not a religious conflict, but a power game. Nothing to do with Islamic teachings. (but Somi never accepts any one else’s opinion in seems).

      • Rafiq— we have to see each coflict professionally.
        Conflict between Qatar ( both sunni), yes, it is power game.
        Conflic between Saudi and Iran is it was a religion conflict—since death of prophet-/ but now become power game.
        Conflict between Wahhabi and Ahmadiyya is religious conflict, NOT POWER GAME.
        Conflict Turkey and Saudi is Power game.

        This is my opinion

      • The conflict about AHMADIYYA is not only religious. It is also a power game, because the Saudis would like to be considered the leader of the Muslims and the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at have no intention to follow the lead of the Saudis. When King Feisal eyed with the possibility of having himself declared Khalifa he did not want a second Khalifa among Muslims. This was one of the reasons why he pushed the Pakistanis to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslims. By the way: Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, said to the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at “Of course I know that you are a better Muslim than me, this was just ‘for the purpose of the constituion.’ ” in other words, political and not religious.

      • Conflict between Saudi and Iran: I never read or saw that Saudis wanted to convert Shias with religious arguments, or vice-versa. No religious discussions are taking place. Therefore: Am I correct or am I right? (that it is a power game and not a religious conflict).

  3. The same answer—-
    Rafiq— A big conflict start from a small dispute ( conflict) right?

    What about Me and You and Riffat— it is a small conflict— I say, pls do not delate my respond ! — and then you delate anyway— just because different interpretation— not because of power games, Right? Do you think I can take your possion? No

    The same as Ahmadiyyah with Wahhabi—- it was started from different interpretation— and then Power games.

    It is obvious conflict come from religion first and then Power games.


    • Main reason for deletion usually is the repetition. A few times we can hear the same argument, but not again and again and again …

      • Rafiq—be wise please!
        As far I know there was no a repetition on the same article at the same date. But I responded the different topic, different date , may be little bit the same content.

        Please love and respect different view.
        All ❤️

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