« Turks now producing Europe’s televisions » – Sabah

Source : Sabah

« With campaigns geared towards sports, Turkish television manufacturers have conquered the European market. While Arçelik Grundig has sat itself in third place in Germany, with the aid of the Bundesliga, Vestel has caught on to a 70 percent growth.

The coinciding of the German Bundesliga with both the European Cup and the Olympic Games, has worked to Turkish television producers’ benefit. With their brand investments and production based strength, both Arçelik and Vestel, have turned their consumption potential derived from sports broadcasts into an opportunity in the television market. Both brands managed to have their presence felt in this year’s IFA, one of the biggest consumer electronics fairs in the world.

With Bundesliga TV and marketing, the return of a technological cllaboration put Arçelik in third place in the market. In the first six months of 2012, Grundig was able to double sales compared to the year prior. During the same time period, with flexibility in production and smart television investments in conjunction with the Olympic Games and the European Football Cup, Vestel saw a soaring 70 percent growth in exports during the same time period.

TARGETING AFRICA AND THE U.S.

Both firms have determined new export markets in order to ensure they are not affected by any shrinkage that could transpire in Europe. While Arçelik has set its sights on growth in Africa, by purchasing the Defy brand in South Africa, they have already made a significant jump. Vestel on the other hand has completed preparations to begin exporting televisions to South America’s Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia and Paraguay.

INCREASING SHARES FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS

The ‘Cast Line’, a special cookware series designed for Beko by Patricia Urquiola, was revealed for consumers at this year’s IFA, which also showcases white goods.
Koç Holding Durable Goods Consumer Group Chairman Levent Çakıroğlu announced that Arçelik has grown by 40 percent over the first six months of 2012. « With the effects of this growth, our six-month revenue has reached 5.2 billion TL. We are the only brand in Europe that has managed to increase our market share for five consecutive years, » states Çakıroğlu.

70% GROWTH WITH THE OLYMPICS

Vestel, which introduced a number of new products at the IFA, managed to acquire a 70 percent growth in television sales in the first six months of the year. Based on this product alone, the firm’s revenue has reached 687 million euros.

According to Vestel Executive Board Vice-Chairman Turan Erdoğan, the Olympics and the football championship were important driving factors. « We gained a lot of momentum due to the fact that the European Cup was in June and the Olympics followed in July, » says Erdoğan. »

Source : Sabah

« TV series face demand and supply problem, says actor » – Hürriyet Daily News

There is a supply-and-demand problem in the Turkish television series industry, Tarık Pabuççuoğlu, a veteran Turkish television and cinema actor, says. Source : Hürriyet

There is a supply-and-demand problem in the Turkish television series industry, Tarık Pabuççuoğlu, a veteran Turkish television and cinema actor, has said.

Pabuççuoğlu, who is currently playing a role in a Turkish TV series, criticized the workings of the sector while speaking to Anatolia news agency.

“I am worried about the cultural erosion that Turkey faces today. It is very important to attract audiences to the theater, but no one is interested in it,” Pabuççoğlu said. “[TV series] feed of commercial advertisements and this makes it a commercial situation.”

Each season, 120 TV series hit Turkish television screens, Pabuççuoğlu said. “Each [production] team consists of 50 people, but only a few of these series can survive and continue through the season. When TV series are canceled then people become unemployed.”

This is a question of supply and demand, Pabuççuoğlu said. The imbalance of supply and demand affects everything in the industry, he said, and added that this also drives the cultural erosion Turkey faces.

Meanwhile, fully 78 percent of poll respondents in the Arab world and Iran report that they have watched Turkish soap operas.

Demand is high in Arab countries

“[Turkish] TV programs have taken the region by storm, with Turkish TV stars becoming pop idols,” a report from Paul Salem titled “Turkey’s image in the Arab World,” said. These soap operas have the effect of “creating attachment, understanding and affection for Turkish identity, culture, and values” in the region, the report said. “Like Egyptian TV and cinema creating a prominent cultural place for Egypt in previous decades, Turkish television has made similar inroads in Arab [and Iranian] popular culture,” the report said, adding that this has been complemented by a wave of tourism to Turkey that is bringing Arabs and Iranians from various classes and walks of life to the country, which has become the most popular tourist destination in the region.

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Cansu Dere to play Sultan’s Iranian love interest on hit show » – Hürriyet Daily News

« Turkish actress Cansu Dere is the most recent addition to the cast of the hit Turkish TV show « Muhteşem Yüzyıl » (The Magnificent Century), as the new season approaches.

Dere will be playing an Iranian woman named Firuze, who steals Sultan Süleyman’s heart in upcoming episodes of the show.

The next season will focus heavily on the power play between Leyla and Hürrem Sultan, played by Meryem Uzerli, and their fight for the love of Sultan Süleyman. »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Turquie – Série TV : l’empire contre-attaque » – émission Faut Pas Rêver

Extrait d’un reportage de Sandrine Léonardelli et Patrick Méheut (production France Télévisions / Faut pas rêver)

« Depuis une dizaine d’années, les séries télé « made in Turquie » règnent en maîtres sur le petit écran. Avec un marché de 70 millions de téléspectateurs, leur production est devenue une véritable industrie dont Istanbul est la capitale. Exit les feuilletons brésiliens ou mexicains, les séries turques parlent aussi d’amour, de crimes ou de trahison. Leurs héros sont beaux, souvent riches et puissants et ils sont turcs ! Et c’est ça qui fait la différence ! Leader absolu de l’audience depuis un an, « Le siècle magnifique » raconte la vie de Soliman, le plus grand sultan de l’Empire ottoman, y compris sa vie privée… Un pari osé en Turquie ! « 

Lien sur le site officiel de l’émission Faut Pas Rêver : http://fautpasrever.france3.fr/?page=destination&destination=93&content=1

« Turkish TV series encourages violence in youth » – Hürriyet Daily News

‘Valley of the Wolves’ has been ranked as the most violent TV series, followed by ‘Behzat Ç.’. Cartoon films including ‘Ninja Turtles,’ ‘He-Man’ and ‘Pokemon’ are also on the list.

« The head of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), Fatih Yalçın has prepared a “black list,” which includes TV series that have violence and encourage youth to violence, according to an article in daily Milliyet. The 167 page report is the dissertation of Yalçın and covers foreign and Turkish TV series and movies. Among the foreign movies listed, “Natural Born Killers” directed by Oliver Stone was listed as the top violent movie.

Valley of the Wolves (Kurtlar Vadisi) ranked as the first violent TV series, cartoon films including “Power Rangers,” “Ninja Turtles,” “Batman,” “He-Man” and also “Pokemon” were also on the list.

According to daily Milliyet’s article, the report revealed that cartoon programs broadcast during the day include violence more than 30 percent of the time.

The report also revealed that young people who watched “Reservoir Dogs,” “License to Kill” and “Natural Born Killers” are involved in violent acts. “It is not true to say that everyone who watches those movies would become involved in violent acts. It is not possible to arouse the same effect on everyone, but people who are involved in violent acts should not be ignored,” the report said, according to daily Milliyet.

“Those movies may not cause violent acts, but they encourage violent acts among youth.

The TV series also use violence and use scenes [of violence] and the viewer gets used to the violence,” said the report. TV series such as “The Valley of the Wolves,” “Autumn Roses,” “Behzat Ç,” “Backstreets,” “Adanalı” and “Ezel,” which are shown in prime time on Turkish channels are also among those encouraging violence. »

Source : Hürriyet Daily news

« ‘Muhteşem Yüzyıl’ stars back children » – Hürriyet Daily News

The stars of ‘Muhteşem Yüzyıl’ pose at the event held to support the children’s village. Hürriyet photo,Behlül AYDIN

The set of the popular Turkish TV series, “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century) was the location of an event on June 5 to support the children’s village project to be built in İzmir-Barbaros by the Foundation for Children in need of Protection, daily Hürriyet reported. The house will be dedicated to the memory of screenwriter Meral Okay, who recently died of cancer.

Organized by a member of the foundation’s board, Berrin Yoleri, and hosted by Timur Savcı of TIMS Productions, the production company responsible for “Muhteşem Yüzyıl”, the event was attended by a number of famous Turkish society figures, including Caroline Koç, and Suzan Sabancı Dinçer, as well as the series’ production team and cast. By the end of the event, 800,000 Turkish Liras has been collected, not counting SMS pledges.

The TV series’ huge set, located at Istanbul Film Studios, was open to visitors during the event. The artists attending the event undertook to raise money for the construction and furnishing of each house in the children’s village.

A selection of music from the TV series was performed at the event, and actress Meryem Uzerli, who plays the role of Hürrem Sultan on “Muhteşem Yüzyıl,” performed Whitney Houston’s song “The Greatest Love of All.” Halit Ergenç, who plays the role of Kanuni Sultan Süleyman (Süleyman the Magnificent), performed Sezen Aksu’s “Masum Değiliz.”

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Tajiks ban Turkish dramas for being violent » – Hürriyet Daily News

« Authorities in the Central Asian nation of Tajikistan have banned several hugely popular Turkish television series over concerns that the violence in them could have a bad influence on viewers.

State film and video agency head Davlat Safarov said Wednesday that the shows in question contain what he described as elements of terrorism and extremism.

The Turkish shows, which are distributed locally on DVDs and are dubbed by well-known Tajik actors, have gained a huge following in Tajikistan over the past two years and are relatively tame melodramas by U.S. and Russian standards.

The move is unusual for this moderate Muslim former Soviet nation, but authorities have lately demonstrated deep concern over anything they deem to be a manifestation of radical Islamism. »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Famous TV star Beren Saat, dream woman for Arab men » – Hürriyet Daily News

Beren aat is currently the most popular Turkish actress in the Arab world.

« The popularity of Turkish TV series is rising every day in Arabic-speaking countries, and Turkish actresses are often the main attraction in a series. Beren Saat, who plays the role of Bihter in “Aşk-ı Memnu” (Forbidden Love) and that of Fatmagül in “Fatmagül’ün suçu ne?” (What is Fatmagül’s fault?), is currently the most popular Turkish actress in the Arab world.

Saat has come to represent a sort of dream woman for Arab men, said a recent article in Al Bawaba daily, based in Jordan. There are about 300 fan pages on Facebook dedicated to Saat, and approximately 800,000 people have “liked” those pages. Messages to Beren Saat on Facebook mainly consist of compliments and messages of admiration. According to the Al Bawaba article, Arab men say of Saat “she is like an angel,” and that their only dream is to find someone as “pure” as she is. They also hate the character Mustafa, Saat’s character’s fiancé on “Fatmagül’ün suçu ne?”, and post angry messages about the character on Facebook. Some say they want a daughter like Saat. Arab women, on the other hand, tend to prefer Buğra Gülsoy, another actor appearing in “Fatmagül’ün suçu ne?”, comparing him to Brad Pitt.

Beren Saat is the Turkish person about whom the most articles are being written, according to the latest data released by the Media Tracking Center (MTM), with 4,472 articles in the media. Her popularity in the media stems mainly from her relationship with Kenan Doğulu, her latest boyfriend.

Doğulu is one of the most popular singers in Turkey and represented Turkey in Eurovision 2007 with his song “Shake it up Şekerim.” Doğulu and Saat have been together for a while, and their relationship is said to be very serious. Turkish dailies have written that Saat has met Doğulu’s family.

Actor Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ’s girlfriend Azra Akın was in second place on the MTM list. Akın’s popularity has risen since the couple made up last month and became the focus of marriage rumors. The rumors are still just rumors, though, and Tatlıtuğ has said: “If I were getting married tomorrow, I wouldn’t tell anyone.” »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Investments pour in for entertainment » – Sabah

« Turkey, a rising star in terms of global growth, is now becoming a regular stop for international stars such as Madonna and Zaz. Foreign investors are now racing to invest in Turkey’s four billion dollar entertainment sector.With international record growth and per capita annual income rising to over 10,000 dollars, Turkey is now drawing in international investors who are testing the waters in the entertainment sector.

With the increasing prosperity in the economy, international stars that used to pass on including Turkey in their international tours are now lining up to schedule concerts. This year a number of famous performers such as Madonna, Zaz, Pitbull and Leonard Cohen will be playing for their fans in Turkey. The country, which was not a favorite destination in the past, now has nearly 100 shows listed every day. With 36,000 events organized annually, Turkey’s entertainment market is expected to rake in over four billion dollars this year.

A 400 MILLION DOLLAR INCREASE

According to Turkey’s Entertainment Sector Association (TESDER) Chairman of the Board Fırat Kasapoğlu, every year the sector’s revenue is on a rise. According to the figures, in 2010 the sector brought in 3.2 billion dollars, in 2011 3.6 billion dollars. At present the entertainment sector is expected to bring in four billion dollars in revenue. However, Kasapoğlu explains that the sector has a significant amount of growth potential. Drawing on the United States as an example, Kasapoğlu says that including media spending, the entertainment sector is worth 458 billion dollars. The entertainment sector in Japan is worth 169 billion dollars, while in both China and Japan the sector has reached 90 billion dollars.

A CENTER OF ATTRACTION

Paralleled with the increase in revenue obtained by the entertainment sector, internationally acclaimed event operators are now scheduling in Turkey for their tours. Kasapoğlu explains that foreigners are now aware of Turkey’s potential and are showing increased interest in Turkey. « Turkey has become a center of attraction in the entertainment sector, » says Kasapoğlu who explains that there has been an increase in the number of foreign events held in Turkey which brings with it a serious tourism potential. « Tourists come from neighboring countries in order to watch foreign music groups perform. Tourists came from Russia to see Tarkan for example. But also foreignners flock to Turkey to see performances by U2, Bon Jovi and Madonna. They also come to Turkey from Arab nations, » says Kasapoğlu. » […]

Source : Sabah

« TV watchdog launches new rating inspections » – Hürriyet Daily News

Davut Dursun says the new rating measurement system should be trustworthy. AA photo. Source: Hürriyet

« A new draft of regulations for Turkey’s TV rating system, which said the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) will introduce a strict inspection mechanism, has been presented by RTÜK head Davut Dursun.

Dursun said the new mechanism will be based on four steps. The committee that will measure the ratings will be a legal entity, Dursun said, adding that publishers and broadcasters will take a much more active role in the measurement committee than before.

The new rating system will introduce rating mechanisms into towns with populations of over 5,000, Dursun said. The previous minimum population number was 20,000.

There will be more than one mechanism to inspect rating measurements, Dursun said.

“First there will be an internal inspector firm which conforms to international standards. Second an independent institution will check the outcomes from that firm. Third RTÜK will inspect them all,” Dursun said.

Dursun said RTÜK would rather to stay out of the issue, but that Parliament had changed its instructions on the subject, which gave them regulation and supervision duties.

“Our good will should not be abused,” Dursun said.

“It is a milestone for RTÜK to take part in the rating measurement system. I cannot say that this development will solve the problems because consensus among the actors is a must here. The new model we are talking about needs to be trustworthy. RTÜK is a new actor and now this institution will have a right to inspect and fine whenever it wants,” Professor Ali Atıf Bir, head of the advertising department at Bahçeşehir University told the Hürriyet Daily News April 27.

In December 2011, the Istanbul Üsküdar Prosecutor’s office launched a case against television rating agencies, finding that production companies had paid respondents to vote in favor of the television programs of their choice. The police raided AGB and several other production companies at the time. »

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

« Analysts stress Turkey’s key role in Balkans and beyond » – SETimes.com

By Erisa Dautaj Şenerdem for Southeast European Times in Istanbul — 24/04/12

Turkey has followed a more proactive foreign policy towards the Balkan region in recent years, and along with its strong political and diplomatic ties with these countries, it can contribute to regional peace and stability. So say representatives of political organisations and NGOs from the region who urge Turkey to boost its economic presence there.

The signing of the Istanbul Declaration among the presidents of Turkey, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in Istanbul in April 2010 marked an important achievement regarding Turkey’s role in the Balkans. The revitalisation of Turkish foreign policy towards the region is also often referred to as « neo-Ottomanism, » following Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s approach and speeches.

The three heads of state — signatories of the Istanbul Declaration — expressed their « commitment to the territorial integrity, sovereignty and the legal personality of Bosnia and Herzegovina within its internationally recognised borders, while stressing the importance of national reconciliation within BiH, » in the document. This was considered the most relevant part, and although it was not a solution to all problems between the two countries, Turkey was praised for having Serbia comment on BiH’s territorial sovereignty.

« I need to say that we are quite thankful for [Turkey’s] role in whole political process in the region. [However,] in recent years, we did not really have diplomatic and political problems with our neighbours. We [rather] have problems with every day lives … that we need to solve on our own, » BiH’s Federal Minister of Education and Science, Damir Masic, told SETimes.

Among these, he cited trade problems BiH has with Croatia, saying Bosnian companies lacked the same reciprocal treatment that Croatian firms enjoy in BiH. Another concern, he said, is the fact that BiH never established and signed an agreement on exact borders with Croatia and Serbia.

Turkey has definitively had a positive impact and influence across the Balkans in all circumstances, Masic said. « But the part which we are not satisfied and [where] we think there is space for improvement is definitively economic co-operation, » he noted.

Turkish diplomacy’s considerable advancement in the Balkan region gives the country a stronger negotiating position within NATO and with the EU, according to Hüseyin Bağcı, the chairman of the international relations department at Middle East Technical University in Ankara. The country has supported international initiatives regarding regions in the Balkans exposed to conflict, wars and ethnic cleansing after the collapse of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and has played an especially active role regarding the BiH and Kosovo crises.

Noting that Turkey has participated in all important initiatives of peace and stability, and has been active in the NATO operations regarding the Kosovo issue, former Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu said it has also contributed to his country’s post-war economic development through strong investments.

« It is crucial that Turkey continues with its strong support for Kosovo, and naturally continues its co-operation with countries [in the Balkan] region that will help build a co-operation climate among these countries and beat eventual obstacles in front of us, particularly Serbia’s unfair approach towards Kosovo, » Sejdiu told SETimes.

As one of the first countries to recognise Kosovo’s independence, Turkey has intensively lobbied for its recognition by other countries, particularly members of the Islamic Conference, Sejdiu said. However, he argued that Turkey had to involve Kosovo in regional official meetings as well, especially referring to meetings Turkey has with Croatia, Serbia and BiH.

« I think Turkey must expand the network in this direction … so that Kosovo is part of the [regional] partnership and that it is not understood as if [the latter] is being avoided. »

« In order to assist in such a situation, there should be will by both parties [Kosovo and Serbia], otherwise Turkey risks taking a unilateral stand, » İlter Turan, a professor of international relations at İstanbul Bilgi University, told SETimes. Turan, however, said that Turkey could show an interest in solving Kosovo’s issue as it did with BiH.

Bağcı, on the other hand, argued that this could be an opportunity for Turkey to play a mediating role, if desired by both Kosovo and Serbia. Noting that Serbia will have to take several steps regarding the Kosovo issue by July, due to obligations regarding its candidate status for EU membership, Bağcı said a demand for mediation could come from the EU as well.

Turkey’s political relations with Serbia have been at their peak in the past couple of years, which is another important element in the context of Turkey’s more proactive role in the Balkans. Highest level officials have paid formal visits to each other in recent years, after ups and downs following Turkey’s recognition of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence.

« The priority of Belgrade and Pristina [should be] economic collaboration and [increasing living] standards of the people. Political pressures will be finished with time, » Nebojsa Randelovic, a member of the Serbian parliament and deputy chairman of the Liberal Democratic Party — a political party that supports recognition of Kosovo as an independent state in Serbia — told SETimes.

In contrast to Turkey’s direct involvement in the BiH and Kosovo issues, the country has played an indirect role regarding the Albanian issue in Macedonia, according to Abdula Saliu, vice president of the Skopje-based Balkan Peace Club.

Turkey has not been involved officially regarding this issue, due to very good relations it enjoys with Macedonia, Saliu told SETimes, adding that Turkish NGOs as well as the Turkish International Co-operation and Development Agency had played an important role, supporting Albanian minority people with aid for education and restoration of important cultural monuments.

Turkey has absolutely played a positive role for stability in the Balkans during the post-Yugoslav era and has excellent current relations with all Balkan countries, according to Vujica Lazovic, deputy prime minister of Montenegro

« It is very important to have a common friend-country …, especially in case there is no good collaboration among the region’s neighbouring countries themselves, » Lazovic told SETimes. He also said he hoped more and more Turkish companies would invest in the region. « You know, a [good] economy is the base for everything, the solution to any problem, » Lazovic said.

 

(An expanded version of this story is being published at turkey.setimes.com)

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.

Source : SETimes.com

« Another TV rating scandal hits sector » – Hürriyet Daily News

Confidence in TV ratings sector is faltering as an another TV ratings agency has failed to keep identities of its respondents a secret, an investigation reveals. Souce : Hürriyet

« Turkey’s TV ratings sector is facing a new scandal as a fresh inspection reveals that TNS, the latest rating agency, may have failed to keep the names of its respondents a secret.

In December 2011, the Istanbul Üsküdar Prosecutor’s office launched a case against television rating agencies, finding that production companies had paid respondents to vote in favor of the television programs of their choice. The police raided AGB and several other production companies at the time, and the Turkish Television Viewing Research Committee (TİAK) ended its contract with AGB, to sign a new contract with TNS.

TNS received a list of 100,000 respondents from the Turkish Statistical Institute and outsourced the actual survey distribution to five different intermediary companies. TİAK then chose Marmara University to oversee that the respondent pool was chosen in a healthy fashion.

However, in its March-April report, Marmara University found that the respondents were not chosen in the appropriate fashion and that some respondents either did not complete or inaccurately answered the survey questions, or that their addresses did not match their profiles. The university also found that the surveys could have been leaked after being completed, and were not destroyed as required to protect confidentiality. »

Sourc : Hürriyet Daily News

 » ‘Businesses, media should also be questioned in Feb. 28 probe’  » – Sunday’s Zaman

« Former deputy and former head of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Akın Birdal has stated that big businesses and media organs that enabled the military to stage the Feb. 28, 1997 unarmed military takeover, which resulted in the overthrowing of the coalition government of the time, should also be investigated as part of an ongoing probe into the military officers who staged the intervention.

Speaking at a conference organized by the Socialist Platform of the Oppressed (ESP) in Eskişehir on Sunday, Birdal said the media and capital owners played an important role in the Feb. 28 era. “The media moguls, the writers who encouraged the coup and business organizations including the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association [TÜSİAD] and employer unions are also part of this. These should also be investigated.”

He also criticized leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who accused the prosecutors of acting as an instrument of revenge for the government when warrants were issued for the main actors of the Feb. 28 coup. Birdal said that if those who staged Turkey’s earlier coups had been brought to justice, later interventions including Feb. 28 would not have happened. “If Turkey had confronted the coups of 1960, 1971 and 1980, Feb. 28 and the April 27 [2007] memorandum wouldn’t have happened.”

Birdal said: “Finally they have detained the actors of [Feb. 28]. But they were taken in accordance with the rules of the European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR]. They weren’t picked up at from their homes at 5 a.m. like before. It is important that [Feb. 28] be discussed. That this is on the agenda now.” « 

Source : Sunday’s Zaman

« 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