« ATV delves into Mid East history » – C21 Media

« Turkish broadcaster ATV is preparing to air a new historical drama described as the largest production ever to be made in the Middle East.

Omar Ibn Al Khattab (31×60′), coproduced by MBC Group and Qatar TV, charts the life of Khalifeh Omar Ibn Al Khattab and the Islamic empire he built.

ATV acquired the finished programme, which will be dubbed for Turkish viewers.

Fadi Ismail, general manager of MBC Group’s O3 Productions, said: “ATV has shown interest in the series ever since the idea developed, continuing as production started, until they finally gained the broadcasting rights to air the series dubbed in Turkish.”

Mutlu Inan, deputy general manager of ATV, added: “As a Muslim country, Turkey has an appetite for historical series chronicling the lives of our great Islamic leaders. The series Omar has set a perfect example for this kind of programming.”

He predicted a “spectacular performance” during Ramadan this year.

When it was first announced in September 2010, the drama was described by MBC Group chairman Sheikh Waleed Al Ibrahim as the biggest historical TV drama production ever to be made in the region. »

Source : C21 Media

Author : Michael Pickard

 

« Turkish stars Tatlıtuğ and Öden visit Dubai » – Hürriyet Daily News

Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ. Hürriyet Photo

« Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ and Songül Öden, leading actors of the series titled “Noor,” are visiting Dubai to promote the Istanbul Shopping Fest, which will take place between July 9 and 29 this year. This year’s festival will be the second ever festival.

Speaking at a press conference, manager Füsun Sönmez introduced the festival. Tatlıtuğ said he had been visiting Dubai for many years, and added that he was very happy to see the interest in Turkish soap operas in Dubai and the wider Middle East.

Tatlıtuğ said he was proud to present Turkey and was very happy to contribute to the representation of Turkey in other countries as an actor.

He added that he had received a number of film proposals from the Middle East and said, “if the scenario is good, I would like to play in one of the projects.”

Öden agreed that it was very important to see the interest in Turkish series’ in other countries, and said that it helped to keep the relations between two cultures. “We would like to be in front of the audience with better projects. I would like to be a part of an Arabic project.

”The presentation in Dubai was the first stop on the festival’s promotional tour, before the team travels on to Baku in Azerbaijan and Belgrade in Serbia. »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Turkish soap operas provide chance for dialogue with Arabs » – Hürriyet Daily News

Bahrain’s Culture Minister, who says she can’t watch Turkish TV series for lack of time, knows many around her is fond of Muhteşem Yüzyıl, (Magnificent Century), on the life of Sultan Suleiman. DAILY NEWS photos, Emrah GÜREL. Source : Hürriyet

By Barçın Yinanç.

« Turkish TV series demonstrate that Turkey has found a balance between different traditions of today’s worlds, which is very attractive to Arab audiences, says Bahrain’s culture minister. ‘The series present an image that shows Western lifestyles can coexist with Islamic culture,’ says Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa.

Turkey’s most famous current cultural export, its television series, have drawn huge Arab audiences because of the country’s ability to depict a lifestyle that is both ground in tradition and eminently open and modern, Bahrain’s culture minister has said.

“[Turkey’s TV] series present an image of stability wherein contemporary practices and Western lifestyles can co-exist with Islamic and Arab identities and culture,” Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa said.

Turkey’s economic prowess has equally proven that being Muslim need not entail backwardness, Al Khalifa said.

“The Islamic structure in Turkey did not prevent Turkey from developing,” she recently told the Hürriyet Daily News. “It is open to all views. We take Turkey as a model.”

Q: Why do you think Turkish soap operas are so popular in the Arab World?

A: Turkish soap operas are incredibly popular in Bahrain and throughout the Arab world. I think the reason for their popularity is twofold. The historical series serve people’s imaginations in reflecting different elements of the past, thereby appealing to their emotions and Arab identities, while the more contemporary series represent a picture of Turkey which is very positive.

The latter series present an image of stability wherein contemporary practices and Western lifestyles can co-exist with Islamic and Arab identities and culture. The image both types of series reflect of Turkey is of an open and engaging culture, which seems to have found some balance between the different traditions and practices of today’s world and which has both an Eastern and Western appeal. This is very attractive to Bahraini and Arab audiences and presents us with an interesting cultural dialogue and scope for exchange between Arabs and Turks today.

Q: How do you see Turkey’s role in the Middle East?

A: Turkey has a big influence on political balances. And we have big expectations. Turkey is an Islamic country, but it is developing and growing. The Islamic structure in Turkey did not prevent Turkey from developing. It shows that Islam does not mean backwardness. It is open to all views. We take Turkey as a model, especially in areas of culture and tourism. It is modern and progressive but, at the same time, it gives importance to its values.

Turkey’s stance toward Bahrain has been very valuable to us. It was very balanced and it has never changed. Turkey is becoming stronger economically, and this increases its influence. This is only natural. […] »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

 

« Turkey enjoys ‘soft power’ in Arab countries » – Hürriyet Daily News

Lisa Anderson, President of American University in Cairo (R) and Barçın Yinanç (L). Source : Hürriyet Daily News

By Barçın Yinanç.

« Turkey is enjoying a wave of cultural soft power in the Arab world thanks to its popular soap operas, American University in Cairo President Lisa Anderson says, She notes that Arabs are attracted to the shows because they show that a Muslim country can produce modern stories for television that are also culturally authentic.

Turkish soap operas have become extremely popular throughout the Arab world because they are seen by locals as having reconciled modernity with Islam, according to the President of the American University in Cairo.

At the same time, however, the series’ popularity does not mean the “Turkish model” can be applied to the Arab world because there are fundamental differences between Turkey and Arab countries, said Lisa Anderson.

“People are taking bits and pieces of it; everyone is [just] taking what suits them the most,” she told the Hürriyet Daily News in a recent interview. […]

Everyone is talking about the Turkish model, but is there an understanding of what the gist of that model is. For some, the key word could be secularism; but secularism does not resonate in the Arab world.

No, it does not resonate at all. There are some fundamental differences between Turkey and the Arab world. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed, 80 percent of the Ottoman bureaucrats came to Turkey and they became the core of the state apparatus, while most of the provinces of the empire which became mandates were completely denuded of experienced bureaucrats.

Turkey started with a very sophisticated state apparatus while the Arab world has been in the process of state building.

That’s why you will see different trajectories. But there are reasons why there are people that will look to the Turkish model and use it. The liberals, the MB, everyone will use it for their own purpose. It is a credit to Turkey that people will take whatever will suit them because Turkey is considered a success. But the model is not translating at all; people are taking bits and pieces of it.

How is Turkey’s increasing profile perceived?

They are very comfortable with it. It varies from country to country. Turkish soap operas are popular all over the Arab world. Turkey has a cultural, soft power influence right now. People will refer to soap operas as an indication that a Muslim country can produce modern, culturally authentic TV stories; there is a kind of Turkey [showing that there] is a way to be modern and Muslim. Since many of these old governments, including [Hosni] Mubarak’s, said basically that these two things were not reconcilable, but people want that and they love to see Turkey [doing] that. People think Turkey is respected as a country; this is also appealing. There is more interest and hope for attention in Libya and Syria than there is in Egypt and Tunisia. By and large, people are pleased to see Turkey taking an interest in what is going on in the region. […] »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Arabs wants to see the modern Turkey » – Hürriyet Daily News

« The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) released the results of a survey yesterday in Istanbul, about how Turkey was perceived across the Middle East and North Africa. The survey was carried out between Oct. 19 and Dec. 15, 2011 among 2,323 people in 16 countries, namely Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Yemen and Libya.[…]

That explains why the Turkish President was subject to questions about Turkish TV serials by the leaders of United Arab Emirates earlier this week during his visit. As he was trying to tell them about the strength of Turkish banks in order to attract more investment, his counterparts wanted to know how the serials would end, because their wives watching the series’ at home were wondering – as if Gül would know about this in advance.

Turkish soap operas are so favorable in the world of the Arab Spring because they show that to live a modern and open life in a modern society is possible. They tell stories about Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya. They tell the stories of ordinary Turkish people who can go to Friday prayers and observe their religion freely – like people in Cairo, Baghdad and Tehran – but they can also get social, with men and women together, dancing, falling in love, flirting and even drinking alcohol from time to time.

That is why Turkish soap operas are considered a social catalyst, whereas Al-Jazeera is considered the political catalyst in the media dimension of the Arab Spring.

Turkish soap operas give messages of hope that a modern political, social and economic life can be lived by Turks, as well as by Arab viewers. It is a message of hope. […] »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« 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