« Turkey fines TV over Simpsons show for ‘mocking God’  » – Cumhuriyet

Source : Cumhuriyet

« Turkey’s media watchdog has fined a private television channel for broadcasting episodes of the American cartoon series « The Simpsons » that poked fun at God, a local newspaper reported on Monday.

The Supreme Board of Radio and Televison (RTUK) fined CNBC-E around 53,000 lira (22,700 euros) over the show, saying it « mocked God » by depicting him serving Satan a cup of coffee and showing one character encouraging another to commit murder in the name of God, the Hurriyet newspaper said.

RTUK also accused « The Simpsons » of showing scenes in which copies of the bible are burnt and encouraging young people to consume alcohol.

The decision by RTUK, which has imposed a string of fines over other television series aired in Turkey that were deemed to be insulting to God or historical leaders or offending family values, was ridiculed by Hurriyet columnist Mehmet Yilmaz.[…] »

Source : Cumhuriyet

« Zaman: ‘Diziler imamların kontrolünde olsun' » – Sol

Source : Sol

« Zaman gazetesi bu kez dizileri “dini hatalar” yaptığı için hedef gösterdi. Ustura Kemal isimli bir dizide ezanın eksik okunduğunu söyleyerek harekete geçen gazete, “Dizilerde dini konularda hatadan geçilmiyor, ekiplerde uzman şart” başlığıyla hazırladığı haberinde dizi setlerine imam yerleştirilmesi çağrısı yaptı.

TV’de yayınlanan dizilerde alkol kullanılmaması, evlilik dışı ilişkinin bulunmaması, küfür eden polisin olmaması için harcanan çabalara bir yenisi daha eklendi. Zaman gazetesi aracılığıyla dillendirilen hedef, “Dini konularda hata yapan dizilerin imamların elinden geçmesi” oldu.

Dizilerde dini hatalar Zaman’ı çileden çıkardı!

Zaman’dan Neşe Polat’ın haberine göre, Ustura Kemal dizisinde ezanın “Eşhedu Enne Muhammeden Resulullah” kısmının okunmaması Peygamber’in ezandan çıkartılması anlamına geldi. Haberde, “Dizilerin çoğunda böyle hatalar yapılıyor. Birinde imam rükûdan kalkarken ‘Allahu Ekber’ diyor, bir diğerinde ölü kabre konulurken sağ yerine sol tarafına yatırılıyor” ifadeleri kullanıldı.

İlahiyatçı: “Dizilerin dini açıdan uygun olup olmadığı bakılmalı”

Zaman hedef gösterdiği dizi hakkında bir İlahiyatçı’dan da görüş almayı ihmal etmedi. Necmettin Erbakan Üniversitesi İlahiyat Fakültesi Öğretim Üyesi Prof. Dr. Ramazan Altıntaş’ın “Ezan, İslam’ın en önemli şiarlarından birisi” ifadesine yer verilen haberde, ilahiyatçının önerilerine şöyle yer verildi: « Gerek sinema ve tiyatrolarda, gerek televizyonlarımız başta olmak üzere basın-yayın kuruluşlarında, hatta sinema filmleri, dizi ve belgesel yapımlarında mutlaka dinî açıdan uygun olup olmadığı konusunda görüşlerine başvurulacak yüksek din eğitimi almış bir uzmanın istihdam edilmesi büyük önem taşımaktadır.”

Televizyon eleştirmeni: “Televizyon din konusunda eğitici olmalı”

İlahiyatçının görüşlerini almakla yetinmeyen Zaman, bir televizyon eleştirmenine de sorularını yöneltti. Televizyon eleştirmeni Yüksel Aytuğ yaptığı açıklamada, “Televizyon din konusunda eğitici bir vazife yapmalı. Halkın dinî konularda bilinçlenmesi için dizilere önemli misyon düşüyor. Bu sebeple dizilerle işlenen bu konular uzmanların denetiminde yapılmalı. En azından bir danışmandan bilgi alınmalı. Yönetmen, yönetmen yardımcıları ve sanat danışmanları bu konuya özel hassasiyet göstermeli” ifadelerini kullandı.

Dizinin yönetmeni: “Yanlışlık olmuş, özür dilerim”

Ezanı eksik okuttuğu için hedef gösterilen Ustura Kemal dizisinin yönetmeni Mustafa Şevki Doğan’ın da “Teknik bir montaj hatası sonucu oluşmuştur” sözlerini kullanan Zaman, yönetmen Doğan’ın, “’Ezân-ı Muhammedî’m benim için cesedimden önemlidir ve ölene dek önemli olacaktır. Teknik bir montaj hatasından kaynaklanan bu durumun yine dinimizin gereği olan ‘hoşgörü’ çerçevesinde değerlendirilmesini diler, milletimden tüm samimiyetimle özür dilerim” dediğine haberde yer verdi.

Zaman neyi dert edindi?

Dizilerin peşine düştüğü anlaşılan gazete gördüğü “önemli” dini hataları da şöyle sıraladı: “Dizilerdeki dinî hatalar deyince akla ilk Muhteşem Yüzyıl dizisinde geçen sezon yayınlanan Rodos’un fethi bölümündeki şeyhülislamın kıldırdığı namaz sahnesi geliyor. Rükûdan « semiallahü limen hamideh » yerine « Allahu Ekber » diyerek doğruluyorlar. Huzur Sokağı’nda da Feyza karakteri teravih namazı için camiye gidiyor ancak üzerinde şeffaf bir gömlek var ve başörtüsü düzgün bağlı değil. Kurtlar Vadisi’nde ise Polat Alemdar vefat eden can dostu Memati’yi kabre koyarken sağ tarafına değil sol tarafına yatırıyor.”

Source : Sol

« Suleiman the Magnificent TV drama opens Turkish divide on religion » – Reuters

(Demonstrators attack billboards advertising the TV series "The Magnificent Century" in Istanbul January 9, 2011/Murad Sezer )

« 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. » […]

Source : Reuters

« 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

« Bringing together soap opera fans and religious figures » – Al Arabiya

« Last summer, airplanes traveling to Turkey were filled with young man and women who were fans of the Arabic-dubbed Turkish soap opera « Noor. » Record number of Arab tourists paid a visit to Turkey last summer, holidaying in the land of « Noor. »

As for this summer, it is preachers, imams, and religious figures who are rushing to Turkey, with preachers appearing on television screens calling for viewers to support Turkey and spend their summer holidays there.

Therefore this summer soap opera fans and religious people have – unusually – joined in their love of Turkey, which has become a common ground between them whereas previously it was a source of dispute between the two groups. This was after Imams last year attacked Turkey’s « shameless » soap operas, and called for the Arab public to boycott them. In contrast, merely mentioning Turkey this year elicits praise and support from everybody for the first time since the collapse of the Turkish Ottoman Caliphate. […] »

Source : Al Arabiya

« Arab world is transfixed by Turkish soap operas » – WorldFocus

« For more than six centuries, the Ottoman Empire controlled Arab lands, leaving its imprint on art, language and food.

Today, Turkey is wielding influence once again in the Arab world — not militarily, but through its soap operas. More than a dozen Turkish soaps have aired on Arab television, offering an escape from the hard daily realities of life. »

Source : World Focus Online

« MBC expands soap opera shows despite Mufti fury  » – Arabian Business

 » Saudi-owned TV broadcaster MBC is planning to add four new Turkish soap operas to its programming – just months after a religious leader condemned them as « un-Islamic and subversive ». The television company, which broadcasts the popular Noor and Sanawat al-Dyaa (The Lost Hours), confirmed to Arabian Business that the new Turkish dramas would be added to the lineup this season.

« Turkish drama is now an established genre, » Mazen Hayek, MBC’s marketing director, told Al Arabiya.net.

In July, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, condemned Turkish soap operas and ordered people to stop watching them.

The religious leader said the programmes contained evil and destroyed people’s ethics and values.

He added that the “malicious” Turkish soap operas corrupted individuals and spread vice in society.

Al-Asheikh was referring to MBC programmes Noor and Lost Years, which have become extremely popular in the Arab world over the last couple of months.

The soaps are dubbed in colloquial Syrian Arabic and have proved such a big draw in the kingdom that many people plan their day around the programmes. […] »

Source : Arabian Business.com

« Arab TV Tests Societies’ Limits With Depictions of Sex and Equality » – New York Times

« BEIRUT, Lebanon — Many Arabs were shocked and appalled earlier this month when a prominent Saudi cleric declared that it was permissible to kill the owners of satellite TV stations that broadcast “immoral” material.

Saudi clerics have denounced popular soap operas like « Bab al-Hara, » which attract enormous audiences during Ramadan.

But the comment, by Sheik Saleh al-Luhaidan, was only the most visible part of a continuing cultural controversy over Arab television. This summer another Saudi cleric denounced the Arab world’s most popular television show ever — the dubbed Turkish series “Noor” — calling it “replete with evil, wickedness, moral collapse and a war on the virtues.” He also barred Muslims from watching the series, which portrays the lives of moderate Muslims who drink wine with dinner and have premarital sex. » […]

Source : New York Times

« The Turkish Soap Opera « Noor », More Real than Life » – Qantara

Photographs depicting the lead characters of Turkish TV soap 'Noor' are being arranged in a factory in the West Bank city of Hebron. Source : Qantara

 » From Saudi Arabia to Morocco: Every evening the Turkish series « Noor » draws millions of people to their television sets. The show is about love, intimacy and equality; no social taboo is ignored. Some see in « Noor » proof of social change, others only fiction. Alfred Hackensberger reports

[…] This is male behavior that women here only know from Western film productions and that does not occur in Arab TV productions. For many female viewers gentle Mohannad is a male ideal.

« Our society », explains the Vice President of Bahrain’s Women’s Union, Fatima Rabea, « is not accustomed to such intimacy and love. We are so busy with our everyday lives that a loving relationship takes a back seat. The TV series ‘Noor’ has now awakened the desire for this. »

« Satanic and immoral, » is how the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia described the Turkish television series « Noor » while demanding that TV stations immediately cancel this « attack on God and his prophets ».

In the Palestinian city of Nablus a member of the parliament and preacher from the radical Islamist party Hamas warned against the series, which violates « religion, values, and tradition ».

The criticism from both conservative dignitaries is not directed solely at the liberal TV role model of man and woman. The Turkish soap opera has broken other social taboos in conservative Muslim societies, which has also contributed to the success of the series. […] »

Source : Qantara.de