« 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

 


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