« Muhteşem Yüzyıl’a yasak geliyor » – Sol

« AKP İstanbul Milletvekili Oktay Saral, tarihi dizilerin yayınlanmasına ilişkin yeni kriterler getiren kanun teklifini parti grubuna sundu.

Erdoğan’ın hedef haline getirdiği Muhteşem Yüzyıl adlı diziye yasak geliyor. AKP İstanbul Milletvekili Oktay Saral, Radyo ve Televizyonların Kuruluş ve Yayın Hizmetleri Hakkında Kanunun  »Yayın Hizmetleri İlkeleri » başlığına yeni bir fıkra eklemeyi öngören kanun teklifi hazırlayarak, parti grubuna sundu.

AA’nın haberine göre, Saral’ın Kanun teklifinde, « yayın hizmetleri, toplumun milli değerleri içerisinde kabul edilen tarihi olayları ve şahsiyetleri; küçük düşüren, aşağılayan, çarpıtan veya olduğundan tamamen farklı gösteren nitelikte olamayacak » ifadesi yer alıyor.

Bu teklifin Erdoğan’ın açıklamalarının ardından gelmesi, « Muhteşem Yüzyıl’a yasak geliyor » şeklinde yorumlandı.

Konuya ilişkin açıklama yapan Saral şöyle konuştu:

« Örneğin ömrü at sırtında ülkesine ve milletine hizmet yapmakla geçmiş olan Kanuni Sultan Süleyman, tamamen yatak odasından müteşekkil ve çarpık ilişkilere dayalı bir hayat içerisinde gösterilmektedir. Çocuklarımız ve gençlerimiz bu yayınları izlemekte ve tarihi şahsiyetleri bu yayınlar çerçevesinde değerlendirmektedir. Ayrıca bu diziler yurt dışına da seyredilmekte ve diğer milletler nezdinde tarihsel şahsiyetlerimiz hakkında yanlış olgular meydana gelmektedir. »

Source : Sol

« Women’s drama sells more, say Turkish TV series and film producers » – Hürriyet Daily News

'Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?’ tells the story of a rape victim, Fatmagül, and her struggle to return to life again. Source : Hürriyet

« Turkish TV series are driven by what will appeal to women, according to TV and film producers meeting at an equal-opportunity committee in Parliament.

“We have rating concerns. We need to appeal to women at first,” Ay Productions official Mithat Topaç said yesterday at the Role of the Media in Social Gender Equality subcommittee meeting of the Committee on Equality of Opportunity for Women and Men. “If we can succeed it, a TV series will continue.”

The committee gathered under the direction of Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Zeynep Karahan Uslu.

Many companies do not produce detective series because they will not sell, said a representative from Focus Film, Mehmet Erişti. “We exploit the drama of women, and they feel safer when they see other women’s dramas in those series.” Some 31 percent of managers in Turkey are women, Uslu said, noting that women’s role in society had changed.

In response, Uslu said the subcommittee had come together to discuss how this social change could be reflected in TV series.

Violence exists in daily life, she said, but added that it was important to show it in TV productions and films with a certain goal.

“For example, we don’t see in TV series a man who has gotten a restraining order from his home,” she said, noting that rape scenes could also be made more aesthetical.

According to the committee’s research, there is one unemployed man versus nine unemployed women in the most popular eight TV series, she said.

Erler Film Company representative Nuran Kuran said most screenwriters were female and added that they depicted positive examples of women’s positions in social life in her company’s productions.

“But we cannot go deep into their problems because the public would get bored,” she said, adding that they never discriminated on the basis of language, religion or gender in their productions.

Kuran also claimed that Tukish TV series had created the Arab Spring. She said, “Erler Film’s owner Türker İnanoğlu had a guest from Egypt 1.5 years ago. ‘The reason for the Arab Spring is meanly your TV series. They see that there is democracy and everything is very beautiful in Turkey. And they began thinking ‘why are we like this’.”

At Ay Productions, three of the four screenwriters are women while two of the four directors are also women, Topaç said. He also said the TV series “Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?” (What is Fatmagül’s Crime?) had received reaction, especially because of its famous rape scene. “But then we saw how a rape victim woman returns to life.” « 

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Former head of state media regulator detained » – Sabah

Source : Sabah

« Turkish police detained the former head of the state media regulator and three others on Wednesday in an investigation into an Islamic charity accused of embezzling donations and sending funds to a pro-government media outlet.

The investigation is linked to a 2008 court case in Germany, in which three senior members of the charity, Deniz Feneri, were found guilty and sentenced to jail.

Turkey’s ruling AK Party has denied any links to Deniz Feneri, based in Germany, but the case triggered accusations of government corruption.

The Islamic charity is accused of embezzling donations and sending some of the funds, mainly from Turks residing in Germany, to the pro-government media outlet, Kanal 7.

Those arrested were Zahid Akman, former head of the RTUK state media regulator, and three members of Kanal 7.

A German court said after the trial that Deniz Feneri e.V. had received 41 million euros ($59.16 million) of donations in Germany and that it sent 17 million euros to Turkey. « 

Source : Sabah

« Turkey approves broadcasting law on foreign ownership » – Sabah

Source : Sabah

« Turkey’s parliament approved late on Tuesday a law doubling to 50 percent the amount of broadcasters that foreigners can own, opening the way for more acquisitions from abroad.

Foreign investor interest in the country’s fast-growing media sector is expected to increase as a result of the legislation.

The foreign ownership article was approved individually on Jan 6 and the whole package of legislation was voted through on Tuesday evening.

Under the law, foreigners will be able to become partners in a maximum of two media institutions.

It also opens the way for broadcasting in foreign languages and dialects. The state broadcaster already has a Kurdish language channel.

Turkish media group Dogan Yayin, which owns major television stations as well as mass circulation newspapers such as Hurriyet and Milliyet, is in the process of selling assets.

U.S. private equity fund KKR, Time Warner and private equity fund Texas Pacific Group are among shortlisted bidders for assets in Dogan Yayin, which is embroiled in a legal battle over massive tax fines.

The ruling AK Party tried to reform foreign ownership rules in 2005 but the bill was vetoed by the former president.

The current president Abdullah Gul is a former AK Party member, and has a track record of approving legislation passed by the AKP-dominated parliament. »

Source : Sabah

« After Mubarak: Is Turkey a model for the Middle East? » – SETimes.com

By Justin Vela for Southeast European Times in Istanbul — 11/02/11

In the wake of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation and the continuing protests against ruling regimes throughout the Middle East, a debate is under way about whether Turkey’s path should stand as an example for Muslim governments.

While some secular Turks regard the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as populist and Islamist, Western observers in Turkey view the country’s model as desirable, now that Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah announced they back Egypt’s protesters.

Today’s Zaman pundit Mumtaz’Er Turkone argues that the ordinary people gathered at Tahrir Square in Cairo are the people in power in Turkey. « Egypt is traveling towards the position Turkey has attained after a long and adventurous quest for democracy. »

« On the one hand, Ankara and Prime Minister Erdogan have increasingly spoken of Turkey’s desire to see democracy flourish and justice prevail in the Middle East, » writes Yigal Schleifer.

But Erdogan’s call for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to « satisfy the people’s desire for change », he argues, was at odds with Turkey’s close support for the autocratic regimes in Syria and Iran. The embattled Mubarak finally heeded that call and stepped down on Friday (February 11th).

Schleifer concludes that the turmoil could give Ankara another chance to put forward « the ‘new Turkish model’ — democratic, Islamic, economically vibrant and rapidly shedding the influence of the military — as one for other countries to emulate ».

But Turkey must first overcome the critic’s argument it is not an Arab country. « The best (and perhaps only) way to do this is to emphasise its Islamic identity, which may explain why in his parliament speech, Erdogan used a distinctly religious tone in his appeal for Mubarak to step down. »

Author and blogger Jenny White discusses a new Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) survey showing trends that may help explain Turkey public’s opinion on the debate.

More than 65% of respondents said they « felt Turkey could be a ‘model for the region' ». Asked why, 15% listed Turkey’s Islamic background, 12% Turkey’s strong economy and 11% its democratic government.

Another 10% listed Turkey’s stance in support of Palestinians and Muslims.

Of the ones who rejected the idea, 12% listed Turkey’s secular political system as the reason, while additional 10% the country’s ties with Western nations.

Journalist Frederike Geerdink argued that events in Egypt could actually strengthen Turkish democracy. 

« As I write this, news is coming in that Egyptian state TV is claiming that countries which once occupied Egypt are now plotting against it. Besides the USA, Britain and Israel, of course Turkey was named — well, the Ottoman Empire is long gone, but we see the point. Erdogan has spoken out against Mubarak, basically saying that he should listen to the voice of the people and step down immediately. « 

Geerdink argues the so-called « Ergodan effect » may have even contributed to the uprising in Egypt.

« A democracy with a majority Muslim population daring to speak out against the USA and against Israel, that is rather remarkable. Besides that, Turkey has a rapidly growing economy, and is pushing through democratic reforms while under a so-called mildly Islamic government. » 

Should the Middle Eastern countries remodel after Turkey, they will « make Turkey’s democratisation process stronger », she concludes, proving that a majority Muslim population and democracy really can go together.

 

Source : SETimes.com

« Sultan’s TV drama opens Turkish divide on religion » – Sabah

Source : Sabah

« A steamy television period drama about a 16th century sultan has angered conservative Muslims in Turkey and sparked a debate over the portrayal of the past in a country rediscovering its Ottoman heritage.

« The Magnificent Century » chronicles the life of Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled the Ottoman Empire in its golden age.

Scenes which have particularly offended show a young and lusty sultan cavorting in the harem and drinking goblets of wine, pursuits frowned upon by the Muslim faithful for whom the sultan had religious as well as temporal authority.

Producers of the series, which has drawn huge audiences and boosted sales of history books on the period, said they wove in imagined elements to the love story between Suleiman and his favorite slave concubine, and later wife, Hurrem, with the aim of presenting the characters as more human.

But for many pious Turks, including Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who leads a government with its roots in political Islam, the series is an insult to the nation’s forebears.

That is not something he welcomes at a time when he is trying to revive Turkish influence in the old Ottoman domains across the Middle East. Tens of thousands of complaints have been filed with the national TV watchdog.

Known as the « Lawgiver » among Turks, Suleiman is regarded as a sacred character, whose rule from 1520 to 1566 marked the height of the Ottoman military, political and economic power, when it stretched from Budapest to Mecca, Algiers to Baghdad.

« OVER-IDEALISATION »

Last month, demonstrators chanting « Allahu Akbar » (God is Greatest) staged a protest outside the offices of the TV channel broadcasting the series, and the state broadcasting watchdog, the Radio and Television Supreme Council, told producers the show was « contrary to the values of the national and moral values of the society. »

Descendants of the Ottoman dynasty have also criticized it, and a leading scholar said it contained historical inaccuracies.

The critics, though, are distorting history themselves, argues Mustafa Akyol, a columnist who frequently writes on religion and politics for Turkish newspapers.

« The first problem is the over-idealization of the Ottoman Empire, » he said.

He said the Ottomans might have been good « servants of Islam’, but they were also humans with sins and temptations.

« Quite a few Ottoman sultans, for example, were indeed wine drinkers and while their harem was not the orgy ground that filled the fantasies of some early (Western) Orientalists, it was not a sexless monastery either.

The dispute has deep resonances in Turkey. It echoes divisions in a country that straddles Europe and Asia.

Erdogan’s AK Party is trying to forge a more open Islamic identity in a nation, nearly 90 years after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk founded a determinedly secular and Western-looking Turkish state in the postwar ruins of the Ottoman empire.

The arguments between the religious- and secular-minded over the TV show has also coincided with new restrictions on alcohol sales that have prompted accusations that the AK Party is interfering in people’s lifestyles and imposing Islamic values.

Erdogan called The Magnificent Century « an attempt to insult our past, to treat our history with disrespect and an effort to show our history in a negative light to the younger generations. »

« OTTOMANIA »

The Ottoman Empire was long denigrated by the successors of Ataturk, who ended the sultanate. Official state ideology blamed decadence and religiosity on the part of the Ottoman rulers for Turkey’s humiliating defeat as a German ally in World War One and the carving up of its Middle Eastern empire by Britain and France.

The renewed interest in the glory days of the Ottoman empire comes as Turkey enjoys its greatest prosperity of the modern era, giving a young population increasing pride and confidence.

Power, experts say, has shifted to a new middle class of observant Muslims ready to reinterpret Turkey’s historical narrative, loosening the strictures of Kemalism — the ideology that shaped the Turkish republic in its early years, stressing Ataturk’s vision of secularism and nationalism.

The « Ottomania » gripping Turkey is manifest in museum exhibits on Ottoman art, clothes and calligraphy, restoration of Ottoman buildings and an interest in Ottoman Turkish language courses offered by academies.

Turks’ rediscovery of their past coincides with frustration at the slow pace of Turkey’s accession to the European Union.

Sent into unceremonious exile by the young Turkish republic, descendants of the Ottoman imperial family are also enjoying a rehabilitation of sorts, with surviving members appearing in the media.

« There is a new interest among Turks in rediscovering the Ottoman past, » said Ilber Ortayli, the director of Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace, residence of Ottoman sultans for 400 years. « No nation has the luxury of rejecting its past, especially if you have a magnificent past. Even during the republican years people were proud of their Ottoman history. »

« THE PAST IS AN INVENTED LAND »

Reactions to The Magnificent Century recall the divided reception given to a film in 2008 which depicted Ataturk as a hard-drinking, lonely man beset by doubts.

With the boot on the other foot, Kemalists called that work an insult to the memory of modern Turkey’s founder.

Turkish society often seems polarized between conservative Muslims and secularists, each group viewing their country through different sides of a prism.

« The past is always an invented land, » Nobel prize-winning Turkish author Orhan Pamuk said last year. « The revision of the past is always held to the political struggles of a country. »

Turkey’s television supervisors said they received more than 70,000 complaints after the first airing of the drama.

Meral Okay, the screenwriter, said most of the anger stemmed from the fact that the film-makers had opened the doors of the harem to the public.

« We have been saying the same thing from the start. This is a fiction inspired by history, » said Okay. « By entering the harem, we made all those untouchable and respected characters of history closer to us. We gave them a material existence as humans, with fears, anger and passions. »

Fiction or not, viewers were split as to whether it was appropriate to show the revered Suleiman cavorting in the harem.

« I think it hurts our national pride, » said Huseyin Kilic, who runs a tobacco shop in Istanbul. « Young generations look up to those historical figures who have achieved so much. And what do they see on this show? These great men have a weakness for women – and not only one woman, many of them! »

But Sevda Gunes, a 19-year old student, said she did not understand all the fuss over the drama and the sultan.

« I don’t know why people are bothered so much. Besides, it’s just a show. Why can’t people just watch it and have fun? » »

Source : Sabah

« Turks protest TV drama showing boozing sultan » – Sabah

Source : Sabah

« Turkish protestors angry over the depiction of an Ottoman sultan drinking alcohol and wooing women in a new television series threw eggs and chanted « God is Great » outside of the broadcaster’s studio on Sunday.

A group of about 100 protestors, accompanied by a band playing Ottoman military music, marched to the offices of the entertainment channel Show TV, which broadcasts « The Magnificent Century », in Istanbul’s financial district of Levent.

The historical drama shows Sultan Suleiman I, also called Suleiman the Magnificent who ruled from 1494 to 1566, with his wives and concubines in his harem.

It also shows him drinking alcohol, which is proscribed by Islam. Ottoman sultans were also caliphs, or Islamic leader, until the theocracy was toppled and the secular Turkish Republic that succeeded it abolished the caliphate in 1924.

Demonstrators ripped down posters advertising « The Magnificent Century » near Show TV’s offices and threw eggs at the channel’s windows.

« Sultan Suleiman was just and moral throughout his lifetime, » said Abdullah Demir, 55, who was among the protestors. « To show him as a man who had a predilection for alcohol and women makes us very uncomfortable.

« This is a provocation to make people think it is OK to have sex and to drink, » Demir said.

Historians consider Suleiman’s reign the height of Ottoman military, political and economic power.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council, Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog, has received a record 75,000 complaints since the « The Magnificent Century » aired its first show on Jan 5, CNN Turk reported.

The watchdog regularly bans or suspends TV programmes it deems unsuitable on moral or political grounds, but no ruling has yet been made on the new programme, the channel said.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said last week the government would take measures regarding the series, which had caused him « concern and sadness », but did not elaborate further.

The ruling AK Party is a conservative grouping that calls itself secular but traces its roots to political Islam.

European Union candidate Turkey’s population of 73 million is 99.9 percent Muslim but its constitution is secular and the consumption of alchohol is legal. »

Source : Sabah

 » ‘Their entire lifestyle is under our guarantee’  » – Sabah

Source : Sabah

« Erdoğan spoke harshly about recent events currently occupying the agenda, spanning from new alcohol regulations to the debate surrounding the release of Hezbollah members, and asserts that they are part of a campaign directed at the AK Party.

During an address to AK Party District Chairman, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, qualified the recent debate which has surfaced regarding the monument in Kars, new alcohol regulations, the Magnificent Century series and Television and Radio Supreme Council (RTÜK) regulations and the recent release of suspected Hezbollah members as being a smear campaign directed towards the AK Party. « People drink themselves sick and we don’t interfere. Have we torn down a single statue in the past eight years? » Erdoğan emphasizes, « The issue is something else. » Describing recent events as a smear campaign due to the approaching elections, Erdoğan went on to deliver the following messages during a meeting of Justice and Development Party District Chairmen.

• (Magnificent Century) Confidentiality is very significant to us. The moral values of historical figures are extremely important for us. We are a deeply rooted society and state. We are people who have built a civilization and are the very description of civilization. […]

• The CHP Chairman is using the Television and Radio Supreme Council (RTÜK) regulations to lash out at us in the harshest manner. Wouldn’t someone check before they go ahead and accuse of something? The regulation in question was put in place while CHP was in power and it grants the authority, if necessary, for ministers or the Prime Minister to halt a broadcast. The present CHP Chairman is unaware of this. And obviously no one informed him. Now, he goes and holds us responsible for regulations his own party established. He blushes from decency, however unfortunately, we are face to face with an opposition that blushes and then places decency on the shelf. […] »

Source : Sabah

« Turkey in move to allow 50% foreign TV ownership » – Sabah

Source : Sabah

« Turkey’s parliament approved on Thursday legislation allowing foreigners to own 50 percent of Turkish broadcasters, doubling the limit and paving the way for more acquisitions from abroad.

Voting was continuing on other articles of the broadcasting law in parliament.

The law is expected to shift investors’ attention to buyouts in Turkey’s fast-growing media industry. Turkey’s media sector is dominated by Dogan Yayin (DYHOL.IS), which owns major television stations as well as mass circulation newspapers such as Hurriyet and Milliyet.

Dogan Yayin, embroiled in a legal battle against crippling tax fines, plans to sell its assets and has put bids from Time Warner and two U.S. private equity funds, KKR (KKR.N) and TPG [TPG.UL], on a shortlist of potential buyers for the media group’s assets, excluding the flagship Hurriyet daily, sources familiar with the deal told Reuters on Wednesday.

The move is « positive for Dogan Group, » said broker Seker Yatirim in a report to clients after the approval.

Dogan Yayin is also preparing to sell its flagship Hurriyet (HURGZ.IS) daily newspaper separately, another source close to the process told Reuters, adding investment bank Goldman Sachs will invite initial bids by Feb. 1.

Hurriyet shares rallied as much as 15 percent on Wednesday and closed 13.4 percent higher at 2.11 lira. The stock jumped another 4.3 percent on Thursday at 1530 GMT close of trading, and Dogan Yayin shares advanced 5.4 percent.

The ruling, pro-business AK Party, tried to reform foreign ownership rules in 2005 but the bill was vetoed by the former president.

The current president, Abdullah Gul, is a former AK Party member, and has a track record of approving legislation passed by the AKP-dominated parliament.

A young population, coupled with the fastest economic growth in Europe, makes the Turkish media market attractive to investors. « 

Source : Sabah

« Turkey eyes reform of media ownership law -paper » – Reuters

« Turkey’s government is preparing a reform which would allow foreigners to own 50 percent of private broadcasters rather than a current 25 percent, Sabah newspaper reported on Saturday.

Sabah, without citing sources, said the draft reform law had been presented to the prime minister’s office.

The current law was an obstacle in last year’s sale of media firm ATV-Sabah, bankers and analysts said.

After several foreign firms showed interest, the company — which includes Sabah newspaper — was sold to local conglomerate Calik Holding for the minimum auction price of $1.1 billion.

The pro-business AK Party tried to reform the law on foreign ownership in 2005 but the bill was vetoed by the former president. Current President Abdullah Gul is a former member of the AK Party and has a track record of approving legislation passed by the AK-dominated parliament.

Turkey’s fast-growing media sector is dominated by Dogan Yayin Holding (DYHOL.IS). The second largest company is ATV-Sabah, which is made up of assets seized by a state body from the Ciner Group last year and which was sold to Calik in December.

Third largest is the media business of unlisted conglomerate Cukurova, which, according to sources familiar with the situation, has been looking to sell a stake in its media assets.

A large and young population, coupled with annual economic growth of around 5 percent makes the Turkish media market attractive to investors. Companies which expressed an interest in ATV-Sabah included News Corp. NWSA.N and Europe’s largest commercial broadcaster RTL AUDK.LU. (Reporting by Emma Ross-Thomas, Editing by Peter Blackburn) »

Source : Reuters