« Crisis and Turkish serials hit Greek stage  » – Hürriyet

« For the wider Greek public he was Achilleas Lambrou, the insolent, intelligent, leftist corporal in the 1984 film “Lufa ke Parallagi” (Escape Duty and Camouflage), one of the best anti-militarist comedies in Greek cinema. The film satirizes the difficult years of the Greek junta (1967-74) through the hilarious experiences of a group of soldiers doing their military duty in the newly founded TV channel of the Greek Armed Forces. For others, he was once the husband of a leftist heroine of student resistance during the same period, who is presently serving in the European Parliament. But for theater lovers, Yorgos Kimoulis – now in his late fifties – has been one of the most talented actors of his generation, outspoken to the degree of arrogance and admirably capable of defending his leftist views against anyone who would call him an anti-capitalist “utopist.” […]

The news about Kimoulis broke out almost the same time as a similar story hit headlines: another charismatic actor of the same generation with a similar background in theater and TV, Costas Arzoglou, confessed that he may lose his home – the bank had already sent him the date of the confiscation order – as he cannot afford to pay the installments of his mortgage. Like many theater actors, he was financing his theater work by working on TV serials. These are now being rolled over by cheaper Turkish productions and on top of that, he has not been paid for three years of work at one of the biggest channels. “They can take all except my talent,” he says. Only two weeks ago, another actor in his forties, who had made his name mainly from TV serials, committed suicide as he could not cope with financial difficulties.[…]

The statistics tell a dramatic story. Out of the 4,000 registered actors in Greece, almost 80 percent (some claim more than 90 percent) are now unemployed or partially employed with minimal or no salary. About 250 actors work in state theaters and about 1,000 in the 200 or so theater troupes. And of course, this is work per season.

The drastic cuts provided by the austerity packages on Greece imposed by the “troika” of Greece’s creditors hit the state central and regional theaters, which saw a dramatic reduction of their subsidies. The ones that did not close have to choose plays with smaller casts in order to cope with the costs.

Cheaper Turkish serials and low advertising revenue in the TV sector closed the door on Greek actors who thus lost their main source of income. A new type of actor has been born, the one who is willing to participate in any performance without payment, just to remain in touch with the sector.

Nobody knows how long the austerity period will last in Greece. People are just trying to cope with their immediate needs and commitments. So do the actors, as they try to keep themselves linked with the stage. But still, there is a good side to this. The blow that hit the Greek theater as we knew it up to now has left the door open to new, young talents who have entered the stage determined to show their skills. »

Source : Hürriyet

« Greeks tune in to Turkish soap opera, despite critics views » – SES Türkiye

Article by Andy Dabilis and Erisa Dautaj for SES Türkiye in Athens and Istanbul

« Greek nationalists view the series as being a Turkish invasion of sorts, while others see opportunities for beneficial cultural exchange.

Greeks have been enthralled by Turkish TV series « The Magnificent Century » in recent months. The series is comprised of historical recreations of 16th-century Sultan Suleiman’s life and slick soap opera-like tales of intrigue and family drama, prompting alarmed nationalists to issue warnings that fans should stop watching.

Greek viewers said they love the vicarious thrill of seeing how rich Turks live, and the shows make Istanbul seem an irresistible place to visit, while others relate to the problems of ordinary Turks.[…]

The series has become so popular that nationalist Thessaloniki Bishop Anthimos and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party have both condemned the show and urged Greeks not to watch.[…]

The Turkish shows’ prevalence is also a matter of economics as Greek television stations find it less expensive to buy them than to produce their own.[…]

Other Turkish shows such as « Ezel, » « Ask ve Ceza » and « Ask-I Memnu » show panoramic shots of Istanbul, alluring to potential visitors.[…] »

Source : SES Turkiye

« Greeks learn Turkish by watching TV series » – Hürriyet Daily News

Greek television audiences especially enjoy ‘Magnificent Century.’ The famous series is broadcast in Greece under the title ‘The Magnificent Suleiman.’
. Source : Hürriyet

« Turkish television series that are broadcast in different countries are raising interest in Turkish language abroad. While Turkish TV series face many criticisms, they are also boosting interest in Turkish culture and language.

Greek audiences, in particular, have learned a number of Turkish words thanks to the series that are aired in their country. Turkish series such as “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century), “Sıla,” “Asi,” “Acı Hayat” (Bitter Life), “Deniz Yıldızı” (Starfish) and “Lale Devri” (Tulip Age) are among those shown in Greece, and Greek people have learned simple words in Turkish from them, such as “Hello,” “How are you?,” “My dear,” and also words like “Okay.”

Audience love Turkish actors

Greek television audiences especially enjoy “Magnificent Century.” The series is broadcast in Greece under the title “The Magnificent Suleiman.” Greek audiences love Turkish actors such as Kenan İmirzalıoğlu, Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ and Beren Saat. Greeks generally say that they do not see very many differences between themselves and Turkish people. They also say the Turkish TV series remind them of family life in their own society.

Greek people learn Turkish words from watching such TV series as “Magnificent Century,” “Asi” and “Sıla,” Kostantina Ilia, the owner of a small restaurant in Athens’ Sintagma Square, told Anatolia news agency.

“I do not know if I will be able to visit Turkey, but I would like to visit the country or take lessons to learn more Turkish words,” she said. “I think all of the actors in Turkish series are very talented,” she said, adding that İmirzalıoğlu is especially popular.

Golden Dawn party leader Nikos Mihaloliakos has some negative ideas about Turkish series, but all Greeks do not agree with his views, Ilia said.

“Turkish series depict strong family relationships,” said Klea Vakifli, working in a café that sells Turkish desserts. “Magnificent Century” and “Sıla” are the Turkish series most watched by Greek viewers, Vakifli said. »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Turkey, Greece bridge cultural gap with romance » – SES Türkiye

By Menekse Tokyay and HK Tzanis for SES Türkiye in Istanbul and Athens — 21/05/12

« Romance and « clandestine relationships » between ordinary Greeks and Turks is again the vehicle for another big-budget Turkish romantic comedy. The theme is far from uncommon in real life.

« Iki Yaka Bir Ismail » (Two Shores, One Ismail), the new Turkish romance series — shot on location on the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos (Mytilene) and in Aivali, across from the island in Turkey — was released earlier this month.

Playing on the theme of mixed marriage — this time between a Turkish fisherman and Greek island divorcee — it follows the wildly popular Turkish series « Yabanci Dama » (Foreign Groom), which debuted in 2004.

« For me, [mixed marriage] is no longer a taboo — I know of many Greeks now married to Turkish women, and quite a few Turkish men married to Greek wives. They live here in Mytilene, several in Aivali, in Larissa [in central Greece], everywhere, » according to actress Eleni Filini, one of the protagonists in the new series and a former beauty queen in the 1980s.

Take the real life couple of Aslihan Ozkara and Nikos Dimos, who met at a party a few years ago in Istanbul. In August 2008, the couple married in a surprise wedding held in the same Bosporus metropolis.

Ozkara told SES Türkiye the fact that she and her husband hailed from different ethnic backgrounds meant nothing, as they are very similar as individuals.

Contrary to expectations, the marriage was well-received by their respective families.

« Probably because our families had lived abroad for a long time and were used to such mixed marriages, so it wasn’t perceived as something unusual, » she explained, adding that her husband’s family is also the product of a mixed marriage.

« So we, in a sense, continued a tradition. Nikos’ father was Greek and his mother Turkish. So, we didn’t see any weird reaction, » Ozkara said.

She added, however, that their marriage helped overcome certain latent and deeply rooted prejudices in their immediate social circles. « Through our marriage we tried to establish a bridge between these two cultures; to know each other and to understand each other in better ways, » she said.

Another successful « love story » from both sides of the Aegean is the Tsitselikis-Ozgunes family.

Meric Ozgunes and Constantinos Tsitselikis met at a Greek-Turkish civic dialogue workshop and currently live in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki.

« Our respective nationalities definitely did not lead us to have a negative perception [of each other]. We were already involved in Turkish-Greek issues and open to dialogue; and a lot more than our nationalities united us. We were, in any case, against nationalism and cherished multi-culturalism, » Ozgunes told SES Türkiye.

The couple was married during an official wedding ceremony in 2005, conducted in both Turkish and Greek, in Thessaloniki. As the parents of young children, they have neither baptised the children in the Orthodox Christian faith or ceremoniously circumcised them, as per the Muslim ritual.

« We will leave this decision to their will, » Ozgunes explained.

Asked about reactions towards the marriage, Tsitselikis said both families were very respectful of their decision, with the only queries coming from acquaintances or neighbours, who asked about the ubiquitous issue of religion.

« We had to face questions regarding what religion our children would have, if we were to have any, » he said.

Tsitselikis and Ozgunes said they believe the impact of such marriages can only be measured on their immediate social and professional circles.

« It definitely allowed some people around us, such as relatives and neighbours, to come into contact with the ‘other’, to put flesh and bone to a ‘Turk’ or a ‘Greek’, and therefore, it helped break certain stereotypes, » Ozgunes explained.

Ayse Gunduz Hosgor, an expert on mixed marriages from the Ankara-based Middle East Technical University, underlined that mixed marriages are a contributing factor to integration for at least one of the two partners.

« When we discuss mixed marriages amongst different ethnicities, the level of education and professional sophistication are determinants in laying the groundwork for potential partners [of different cultures] to meet each other, » Hosgor told SES Türkiye.

Nevertheless, she also pointed to the importance of religion when assessing the sustainability of such marriages.

Beyond the interest generated by real life mixed marriages, « Iki Yaka Bir Ismail » is already generating a tourism boon on Lesvos via a cascade of reservations by Turkish tourists, according to travel agency owner Aris Lazaris, who helped co-ordinate the series’ shooting on the large island, which the locals call Mytilene, after the name of the capital city.

« We went from hell in the off-season, due to the repercussions of the economic crisis and cancellations of reservations by foreign tour operators, to our phones ringing off the hooks, » the Mytilene entrepreneur said. »

Source : SES Türkiye

« Greek TV must ‘coproduce to survive' » – C21 Media

« Greek producers must look to international coproductions if they are to get through the country’s growing financial crisis, according to a producer at 2k Films.

The government is currently imposing stringent austerity measures while the European Union discusses a second financial bail out for Greece’s struggling economy.

George Kalomenopoulos, a producer at Athens-based 2k Films, explained to C21 the impact of the crisis on the country’s television industry.

“It started about 18 months ago with major budget cutting from the broadcasters and a lot of series were suddenly interrupted,” he said. “The Antenna channels cancelled six or seven productions.

“Now the local industry is suffering from imports – especially soap operas from Turkey, instead of Greek soap operas – because it is cheaper to import than to produce your own. They are doing very well in the ratings.”

Kalomenopoulos said the only way local indies can survive now is to coproduce with foreign partners who can then sell the product to their own local broadcasters as well. 2k has recently worked with Franco-German cultural channel Arte, plus German and French producers.

He added: “We are focusing on coproductions to split the cost. We were always very active in this field but are now even more. The coproducer helps us to sell and negotiate with foreign broadcasters rather than Greek.

“They say this will last until 2020, and they are the optimists. The key is coproduction and to focus on our own strengths.” »

Source : C21 Media

« Gloomy Greeks forget woes with lavish Turk TV dramas » – Sabah

Source : Sabah

« When an Athens taxi driver learned his passenger was the boss of an Istanbul-based company that brings Turkish TV dramas to Greece he reached for his phone, called his wife and put her through to the man sitting in the back seat.

« She had to know what happens next, » Global Agency chief executive Izzet Pinto said with a laugh. « I was expecting success but not like this. »

It all began when crisis-stricken Greek TV channels realized soft that buying the glitzy tales of forbidden love, adultery, clan loyalties and betrayal from long-standing regional rival Turkey, was cheaper than filming their own.

The action-packed dramas quickly came to dominate the ratings despite the fact that they are broadcast in Turkish with only subtitles in Greek and have gained a devoted following among a Greek populace disheartened by the country’s biggest financial crisis in decades.

Local commentators even talk of a Turkish invasion, pointing to the history of enmity between the two countries who have been on brink of war on several occasions in the past.

Relations have warmed and natural disasters in both countries have brought them closer. But Greeks know little about the daily lives of urban Turks.

Panoramic views of Istanbul neighborhoods which were once home to large and vibrant Greek communities have also awakened a sense of nostalgia in Greeks for a place they refer to as « The City » or Constantinople.

« They remind me of a different era, of Greece in the 1960s when people dominated in life, not material things, » said 65-year-old Eleni Katsika, a dentist. « I watch them so I don’t get depressed. »

So fascinated are Greeks with the shows, that groups have started organizing trips to the island of Büyükada off the coast of Istanbul just to gawk at the set of one of the hit dramas, « Kismet. »

« JUST LIKE US »

Between stamping passports in a packed Athens police station, a young officer keeps an eye fixed on a tiny portable TV on the edge of her desk showing repeats of the latest prime-time hit, « Aşk ve Ceza » (Love and Punishment).

TV ratings for the shows in the small country of 11 million reached 40 percent in the summer, knocked off the top spot only by the occasional Champions League soccer match. Major channels ANT1 and Mega competed by showing a drama each at 9 p.m. and re-runs in the late afternoon.

« I realized hatred is manufactured by the guys at the top, » said Angeliki Papathanasiou, a 21-year-old law student. « You don’t see the bad enemy, you see the real Turk who falls in love, who gets hurt, who is like us, » she said of the shows.

As a result, dozens of Greek fan pages on Facebook are peppered with Turkish words like « harika » (wonderful) and « guzel » (beautiful). Some Greek magazines have started giving away CDs for intensive Turkish lessons.

Some Turks find the Greek success of the shows difficult to fathom despite the proximity of the two countries, which in some areas are separated by just a few miles.

« It comes as a shock to me, » said Asli Tunc, a media professor at Istanbul’s Bilgi University. « Greeks need a new kind of entertainment to forget about their problems and these serials seem to meet that demand for now. »

They are also a trip down memory lane to days when the economy was better, traditions were cherished, shoe polishers worked every corner and the local grocery store was a point of reference.

« ‘Ezel’ and the other series portray a lost dimension of Greek society that has been buried in recent years, » novelist Nikos Heiladakis wrote in a local newspaper article about the success of one crime drama. « It awakens in today’s Greek a lost identity, » he wrote.

BREAKING DOWN WALLS?

In a way, the dramas are exporting Turkish culture, Global Agency’s Pinto said, even to a doubtful market like Greece.

« Greeks feel closer to Turks than they did, » he told Reuters. « Sometimes soft power is more important than political power. »

For the moment their grip on the audience remains strong and Pinto, whose company distributes three of the dramas to Greek TV and more than 30 other countries, expects to export about five or six dramas to Greece a year.

Next year will see the TV release of the controversial hit-series « Muhteşem Yüzyil » (Magnificent Century), based on 16th century sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, which so far has only been released as a DVD. Magazines selling DVDs of the episodes sell out within hours.

« I’ve not missed a single copy, » said Yiannis Panagoulis, a 40-year-old handyman. « At this rate I’m going to be speaking Turkish very soon. Who would’ve thought? » « 

Source : Sabah

« Gloomy Greeks forget woes with lavish Turk TV dramas  » – Today’s Zaman

« When an Athens taxi driver learned his passenger was the boss of an İstanbul-based company that brings Turkish TV dramas to Greece he reached for his phone, called his wife and put her through to the man sitting in the back seat. « She had to know what happens next, » Global Agency chief executive İzzet Pinto said with a laugh. « I was expecting success but not like this. »

It all began when crisis-stricken Greek TV channels realised that buying the glitzy tales of forbidden love, adultery, clan loyalties and betrayal from long-standing regional rival Turkey, was cheaper than filming their own.

The action-packed dramas quickly came to dominate the ratings despite the fact that they are broadcast in Turkish with only subtitles in Greek and have gained a devoted following among a Greek populace disheartened by the country’s biggest financial crisis in decades.

Local commentators even talk of a Turkish invasion, pointing to the history of enmity between the two countries who have been on brink of war on several occasions, most recently in 1996.

Relations have warmed and natural disasters in both countries have brought them closer. But Greeks know little about the daily lives of urban Turks and usually view Turkish society with a critical eye.

« What Turks didn’t achieve with 400 years of military occupation they will achieve with TV occupation, » one blogger wrote in reference to the rule of the former Turkish Ottoman Empire, which included modern-day Greece and collapsed at the start of the 20th century.

Panoramic views of İstanbul neighborhoods which were once home to large and vibrant Greek communities have also awakened a sense of nostalgia in Greeks for a place they refer to as « The City » or Constantinople.

« They remind me of a different era, of Greece in the 1960s when people dominated in life, not material things, » said 65-year-old Eleni Katsika, a dentist. « I watch them so I don’t get depressed. »

So fascinated are Greeks with the shows, that groups have started organising trips to the island of Büyükada off the coast of İstanbul just to gawk at the set of one of the hit dramas, « Kısmet ».

Between stamping passports in a packed Athens police station, a young officer keeps an eye fixed on a tiny portable TV on the edge of her desk showing repeats of the latest prime-time hit, « Aşk ve Ceza » (Love and Punishment).

TV ratings for the shows in the small country of 11 million reached 40 percent in the summer, knocked off the top spot only by the occasional Champions League soccer match. Major channels ANT1 and Mega competed by showing a drama each at 9 p.m. and re-runs in the late afternoon.

« I realised hatred is manufactured by the guys at the top, » said Angeliki Papathanasiou, a 21-year-old law student. « You don’t see the bad enemy, you see the real Turk who falls in love, who gets hurt, who is like us, » she said of the shows.

As a result, dozens of Greek fan pages on Facebook are peppered with Turkish words like « harika » (wonderful) and « güzel » (beautiful). Some Greek magazines have started giving away CDs for intensive Turkish lessons.

Some Turks find the Greek success of the shows difficult to fathom despite the proximity of the two countries, which in some areas are separated by just a few miles.

« It comes as a shock to me, » said Aslı Tunç, a media professor at İstanbul’s Bilgi University. « Greeks need a new kind of entertainment to forget about their problems and these serials seem to meet that demand for now. »

They are also a trip down memory lane to days when the economy was better, traditions were cherished, shoe polishers worked every corner and the local grocery store was a point of reference.

« ‘Ezel’ and the other series portray a lost dimension of Greek society that has been buried in recent years, » novelist Nikos Heiladakis wrote in a local newspaper article about the success of one crime drama. « It awakens in today’s Greek a lost identity, » he wrote.

Breaking down walls?

In a way, the dramas are exporting Turkish culture, Global Agency’s Pinto said, even to a doubtful market like Greece.

« Greeks feel closer to Turks than they did, » he told Reuters. « Sometimes soft power is more important than political power. »

Not everyone shares his sentiments, however.

Dozens of pages with names like « Death to Turkish series on Greek TV » or « Rehabilitation centre from Turkish series » have sprung up on Facebook by those who want one series off the air because parts of it were filmed in Turkish Cyprus.

« Have (the TV channels) forgotten what Greeks went through? Some things cannot be forgotten, they cannot be erased from Greek history, » one post on the site read.

But for the moment their grip on the audience remains strong and Pinto, whose company distributes three of the dramas to Greek TV and more than 30 other countries, expects to export about five or six dramas to Greece a year.

Next year will see the TV release of the controversial hit-series « Muhteşem Yüzyıl » (Magnificent Century), based on 16th century sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, which so far has only been released as a DVD. Magazines selling DVDs of the episodes sell out within hours.

« I’ve not missed a single copy, » said Yiannis Panagoulis, a 40-year-old handyman. « At this rate I’m going to be speaking Turkish very soon. Who would’ve thought? »

Source : Today’s Zaman

«  »Turkish TV series a solution for big Greek crisis » – Hürriyet

‘Aşk-ı Memnu’ airs on Greek channel Antenna and competes with ‘Aşk ve Ceza’ on Mega. (source: Hürriyet)

« Two Turkish TV series came to the aid of Greeks who had to leave the nightlife and stay at home because of the big economic crisis.

If 16.5 percent of a country’s population cannot even meet their daily needs, if 24 percent cannot pay their phone and electricity bills, if 19 percent cannot pay their bank credit back, if 9.4 percent cannot pay their rent and if 14 percent cannot even meet the minimum payments on their credit cards, then the situation must be quite dire indeed. […]

People spend their nights before the television screen. Of course the upsurge in the amount of time people spend watching TV carries no meaning for media bosses due to the vertical fall in advertisement revenues. There are only a handful of new domestically produced series. Thus they make do with foreign movies, foreign series and panel discussions.

It is time for Yasemin and war in “Love and Punishment” (Aşk ve Ceza) on Greek channel Mega and Bihter and Behlül in “Forbidden Love” (Aşk-ı Memnu) on Antena. They are racing head to head, according to surveys. The heroes and heroines of these series feature predominantly on the covers of weekly television magazines.

The rage that began with “The Foreign Groom” (Yabancı Damat), expanded with “A Thousand and One Nights” (1001 Gece) and peaked with “Ezel” (Past Eternity) has not vanquished one bit.

When asked why the two big television channels compete with each other through Turkish series, a friend who is well versed in these affairs said the reason was, before anything else, the economic crisis. “If there had been a good Greek series, Turkish series then would not have acquired such high ratings,” he said. “Each part of a Greek series costs around 70,000 to 80,000 euros, whereas each part of a Turkish series costs about 7,000 to 8,000 euros.”

My friend said so many Turkish series had been aired since “The Foreign Groom” that the Greek audience had gotten used to Turkish. “They like Turkish TV series because they do not sound so foreign to their ears anymore. Another factor is that the scenarios of Turkish series are not alien to Greek society. Moreover, high-budget Turkish series are also of good quality.”

I would say “knock on wood” because Turkish series have destroyed many taboos in Greece regarding Turkey and the Turks. »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Turkish soap operas are getting more popular in Greece » – New York Turkish Club

« Starting with the big success of Foreign Groom (Yabanci Damat) a few years ago, Turkish soap operas have been getting increasingly more popular in Greece. Following the Foreign Groom, Binbir Gece (1001 Nights) was shown from October 2009 on and broke the record by drawing 1.1 million Greek viewers each day. Even on the first day of the World Cup, Binbir Gece captured 30.5 percent of viewers, overshadowing the opening game between France and Uruguay – the first time that a soap opera ever beat the ratings of a soccer match in Greece. In the winter season, additional Turkish soap operas, Forbidden Love (Ask-i Memnu) and Silver (Gumus), will start broadcasting on Greek channels.

The strong interest of Greek viewers in Turkish soap operas is seen as the indication of strong similarity between Greek and Turkish cultures by many. The rapprochement that started between Greece and Turkey in 1999 turned the two countries once enemies into strategic partners. During Turkish Prime Minister’s last visit, Turkey and Greece had a joint cabinet meeting and formed a High Level Cooperation Council between the two countries.

Turkish soap operas have been enjoying great popularity all throughout the Balkans, including but not limited to Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina. Lately, some of these series have also started being shown in some Central European countries such as Slovakia and the Czech Republic. This overwhelming interest inevitably increases the interest for Turkey and the Turkish language in the region. »

Source : New York Turkish Club

« Winds of Turkish soap operas on Greek TV channels » – Cumhuriyet

 » Turkish soap operas are expected to attract thousands of Greeks in the upcoming TV season in Greece.

According to Greek media news reports, the winds of Turkish soap operas in Greece began with « Yabanci Damat » (« Foreign Son-in-Law ») and peaked with « Binbir Gece » (« 1001 Nights »).

Sources said that Greek TV channels choose Turkish soap operas more than they do U.S. ones based on costs.

Turkish soap operas « Ask-i Memnu » (« Forbidden Love ») and « Gumus » (« Silver ») will be broadcast on Greek TV channels during the upcoming winter season. »

Source : Cumhuriyet

« Turkish soap opera becomes popular in Greece » – Hürriyet Daily News

"Binbir Gece". Source : Hürriyet

« A new trend in Greece comes from Turkey and its name is « Binbir Gece » (Thousand and One Nights), a Turkish soap opera.

The soap focuses on a Turkish love story that has magnetized Greece’s television audience in such a way that the majority of the Greek press speaks about a Turkish invasion of Greek TV. « (…)

Source : http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkish-soap-opera-becomes-popular-in-greece-2010-07-18