“Turkish weddings in demand by Arabs” – Sabah

Source : Sabah

“The Arabs’ love for Turkey, evident from the popularity of Turkey’s television series, has now spread to wedding planning. Turkey’s wedding planners are now seeing high demand by Arabs for Ottoman weddings.

These days Turkey seems to have been put on a pedestal by Arabs. Spanning from Turkish cinema to sports, arts to politics, the Arabs love of Turkey is currently on the rise. This adoration is also being reflected on the nation’s economy. Arab tourists are practically flowing to Turkey. With regressed exports to Europe, Turkey is now looking to increase exports to the Middle East. Meanwhile, Arabs are waiting in line to become homeowners in Turkey. It is this love of Turkey by Middle Easterners that is sending the nation on a whole new journey when it comes to exports. Now it seems, Turkey will be proving a whole new sort of exports in the form of wedding planning. Arabs, who are willing to dish out millions of dollars on wedding organizations that would place Istanbul in one of the top spots as most desirable wedding locations, are now demanding weddings of Ottoman grandeur in their own countries. SABAH speaks with a number of well-known wedding planning firms based in Istanbul. […]


The sector contributes to 20 different fields of business in Turkey.
Every year, approximately 650,000 couples get married.
195 million dollars are spent annually on bridal gowns alone.
The number of weddings increases by 20 percent every year.
There are 350 foreign weddings held in Turkey annually.


Eight billion dollars is spent on honeymoons.
Nineteen billion dollars are spent annually on wedding gifts.
The highest number of weddings are held in Las Vegas.
Wedding rings costing 1,100 dollars are preferred on average.”

Source : Sabah

“Turkish media expands global presence” – SES Türkiye

By Menekse Tokyay for SES Türkiye in Istanbul — 29/05/12

While Turkish soap operas have received much fanfare outside the country, much less noticed is the news media’s expansion to regions of strategic interest.

Turkish media has embarked on an ambitious agenda of projecting its reach in multiple languages throughout the Balkans and in regions where Turkey has strategic interests, as the country asserts itself on the international stage.

Through its media, Turkey is reinforcing a positive image, tapping into what Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has described as Turkey’s “strategic depth.”

Until recently the state-run Anatolia News Agency (AA) published in Turkish and English, but expanded in March to publish in Bosnian, Serbian and Croatian through a new bureau in Sarajevo.

An Arabic service that will be based in Egypt’s capital, Cairo, was launched this month. In co-operation with media in Arab countries, Turkish and Middle Eastern news will be provided to Turkish and Arab audiences.

An Azeri and Russian service will also begin within months, and by 2020, AA’s 100th anniversary, it plans to publish in 11 languages, including Kurdish, Chinese, French, Spanish and German.

Kemal Kaptaner, director of the corporate communications unit at AA, said the bureau in Sarajevo, for example, gives priority to news about the bilateral relations between Turkey and regional countries in order to emphasise the proximity between people in cultural and social terms.

“Before our services were launched, Turkey was newsworthy only when there was a terrorist attack. But now, thanks to AA’s services, people of the region can be much more aware about social, cultural and economic developments in Turkey,” he told SES Türkiye .

Turkey’s parliament passed a bill in March 2008 allowing the state-owned TRT to broadcast programmes in languages other than Turkish. The law paved the way for broadcasts in Turkey’s “near abroad,” where it has played a more prominent economic and political role. Broadcasts now cover the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucuses, the Balkans and Turkish communities in Europe. TRT Arabic, for example, can reach an audience of 350 million people.

The decision to establish TRT-SES in Kurdish also attracted much attention. It was viewed as a positive step to expand Kurdish cultural and linguistic rights in Turkey and also reach Kurdish-speaking communities outside Turkey’s borders in the Middle East and Europe.

Voice of Turkey, a radio channel under the auspices of TRT, broadcasts in 35 languages and is the world’s fourth largest radio station in terms of the number of foreign languages broadcast.

Telling of its role in foreign policy, Voice of Turkey’s first broadcast was an Arabic transmission of former Prime Minister Ismet Inonu’s speech on the Hatay issue in 1937, before the ethnically mixed province was annexed by Turkey from Syria in 1939.

This expansion of media parallels the pro-active foreign policy role Turkey has played in its region over the past decade.

According to Mucahit Kucukyilmaz of the Ankara-based SETA Foundation, up until the early 2000s Turkish media didn’t grasp the scope of the country’s expanding foreign policy, leaving Turkey behind its Western peers.

“For example, we had been informed of the news from the Middle East through a translated language. So, whatever the Western news agencies viewpoint was, we adopted the same,” Kucukyilmaz told SES Türkiye .

The same point was raised by Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc in a series of Twitter posts May 15th when AA Arabic was launched.

“We have all been witness to grave manipulations that astonished us in the Middle Eastern geography, particularly during the Gulf War. Prestigious news agencies that we all know were the leaders of operations with their broadcasts. Not only in the Middle East; we witnessed the same thing in Bosnia. The media remained insensitive for a long time to the seriousness of events,” Arinc wrote.

In the past, Turkish media had difficulty keeping pace with global trends and regional events, something AA is working to overcome.

“There were a handful of journalists who knew Arabic, Russian, Persian and even Kurdish. Nobody really cared to open representation offices or hire journalists, even in our neighbouring regions,” Kucukyilmaz said.

But over the past decade TRT and AA assumed the lead in orienting the future of Turkish media by investing in multi-lingual staff, making field studies, and developing technical and intellectual capacity.

Hakan Copur, a media expert from the Turkish Presidency, says that inward-looking and unassertive countries need no multilingual journalism or broadcasting.

“However, for a country like Turkey, whose zone of influence goes beyond its national boundaries, such a trend is not a luxury but rather a necessity,” Copur told SES Türkiye .

He said elements of soft power are just as important as hard power in global politics. “Especially public diplomacy needs such tools to merge public communication and diplomacy,” he said. “In this regard, multilingual broadcasts will form a foundation for Turkey to utilise its soft power not only in the region, but in global politics as well.”

Plamen Ralchev, an assistant professor at the University of National and World Economy in Sofia, focusing on strategic communications, international public relations and public diplomacy, said that a keen understanding of local languages will bring Turkey closer to the foreign audience.

“The majority of Bulgarians have no clue about this language, so if TRT International launches a Bulgarian-language broadcast it will definitely improve communication channels delivering messages to a Bulgarian audience,” he said.

Paraphrasing the Turkish Airlines slogan “Globally Yours,” he says that with TRT and AA, Turkish media has become “globally public.”

“What is more significant is making Turkey’s voice heard internationally, Turkey’s views expressed and spread around, Turkey’s commitment to a global posture comprehended. Definitely, Turkey has a story to tell … and to sell, too,” Ralchev said.”

Source : SES Türkiye

“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

“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

“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

“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

“Famous show raises popularity of Turkey” – Hürriyet Daily News

TV series ‘A Thousand and One Nights’ raises interest in Turkish culture in Crotia. Hürriyet photo

“Thanks to Binbir Gece (A Thousand and One Nights) TV show, interest in Turkish culture has risen in Croatia. Some families have begun to name their sons Onur, the lead character in the series.

Students in Croatia are applying to Turcology departments at universities more, said the Turkish ambassador to Croatia, Burak Özügergin. “Each day more people apply to Turkish language courses in order to learn Turkish.”

As the series increases the popularity of Turkey, Özügergin said, Croatians’ interest in Turkey increases.

Both countries have benefitted from cultural relations, according Özügergin. Turkish tourists going to Zagreb increased.

Croatia has also discovered how much the two countries have in common, Zenith Services general manager Hidayet Çoklar said. Croatia may also rise as the new attraction in the Balkan countries.

Özügergin added that the relationship between the two countries has developed because of the cultural relations. There are many Turkish shows broadcasting in Croatia currently. “This increases the popularity of Turkey,” he said.

“The potential of Turkey in tourism is evident. However with these shows this popularity is raised,” he said. The series shows that Turkey is a young and dynamic country, according to Özügergin. The TV series also showcases beautiful parts of Turkey. Newspapers in Croatia are publishing recipes for Turkish food.”

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“Azerbaijan bans all foreign TV shows” – Hürriyet Daily News

“The broadcasting of all foreign TV shows has been banned in Azerbaijan as of today, in an effort to “support the domestic sector,” daily Milliyet reported.

The ban includes shows that have been dubbed in the Azerbaijani language. Turkish soap operas are included in the ban.

The head of Azerbaijan’s National Council of Televion and Radio, Nushirvan Meherremli, said the government is firm in its decision and will not back down from the ban.

A new legal regulation will first warn and then punish TV stations that broadcast foreign programming in violation of the ban. The punishment may be as severe as revoking a station’s broadcast license, the report said.

It is hoped that the ban will improve the domestic TV sector in Azerbaijan, Meherremli said.”

Source : Hürriyet

“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

“Sudan’s youth trying to look like Turkish actors” – Hürriyet Daily News

Posters of Turkish artists have a positive effect on customers, according to a barbershop owner. They take the place of internationally renowned artists. AA photo . Source : Hürriyet

“With the popularity of Turkish TV series increasing in the Middle East and North Africa every day, Turkish actors are becoming idols in the region.

In all of the barbershops in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, one sees posters of Necati Şaşmaz, who plays Polat Alemdar on the Turkish TV series “Kurtlar Vadisi” (Valley of the Wolves), Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ (Muhaned on “Gümüş,” which is very popular in Arab countries), and Kenan İmirzalıoğlu of the TV series “Ezel.”

Turkish barbershop owners in Sudan are being overwhelmed by Sudanese men who want to have their hair cut like Polat Alemdar, Muhanned, Ezel and also young Turkish singer Barış Akarsu, who was killed in a traffic accident a few years ago. Mehmet Kazan, who owns a barber shop in Khartoum, said that many young people also want to have their hair bleached blond to look more like Tatlıtuğ. He said that he does not recommend blond hair to his customers, but they insist. “Şaşmaz and Tatlıtuğ are very popular in this region. Since we are a Turkish barbershop, customers often ask us if we can do their hair like Turkish actors,” Kazan said.

Posters of artists like Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and other Western actors, which used to decorate the walls of barber shops until a few years ago, have now been replaced by posters of Turkish actors. Another barbershop owner in the city, Muhammed Hasan, said that posters of Turkish artists have had a positive effect on customers, adding that the interest in Turkish artists is due not only to the popularity of Turkish TV series but also to the good relations between Turkey and Sudan.

Süleyman Çay, who runs a barbershop in one of Khartoum’s most crowded streets, said that characters from Turkish TV series are better known in Sudan than they are in Turkey, adding, “Polat Alemdar, Ezel and Muhaned are the most popular characters with the people of the Middle East and North Africa. Almost all customers ask for haircuts like these actors first. There are people who pose in front of the posters and ask for a style like Polat Alemdar’s.”

One of the customers in Çay’s barbershop, Muaz Hasan, said that the people of Sudan find Turkish TV actors to be more like themselves. “It’s not only in barbershops; you can also see lines from ‘Valley of the Wolves’ on the streets. We in Sudan like and are more interested in Turkey than any other part of the world.””

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“$30,000 paid for hour-long series” – Hürriyet Daily News

"Turkish TV series ‘Nour’ immediately became a hit when it was shown on Saudi sattellite channel in 2008." Source : Hürriyet

“The high production values of dubbed Turkish television dramas, which are extremely popular in Arab households, pose a huge challenge, experts say, according to a report in the United Arab Emirates-based newspaper Gulf News on April 1.

The remarkably popular Turkish series are increasingly becoming a source of delight for sponsors and advertisers on Arab television channels, the newspaper said. The demand for Turkish drama has increased, especially with the decreasing output of the two important TV production cities of the Arabic-speaking world, Cairo and Damascus, due to the political turmoil in both countries in the past year.

But expansion into this market has its price. As the economic rule goes, an increase in demand leads to an increase in prices. Some experts in the industry believe that the increasing prices of Turkish dramas will eventually lead to a shift in demand. The high prices that Turkish series command have begun to suggest to TV networks the necessity of searching for a new profit window.

Adeeb Khair, general manager and owner of Sama Art Productions, a Syrian TV-production company which dubs Turkish dramas into colloquial Syrian Arabic, was quoted as saying, “Several years back, I bought a one-hour (one hour of copyright) Turkish drama for $600 or $700. Today, there are [those] who are willing to pay $40,000 for one-hour dramas.”

“This has opened the door for Turkish [production] companies to reconsider their prices and say they won’t sell for less than $30,000 [for a one-hour show]. This will create a problem. Who will buy them and take such a risk?” Khair said, speaking to Gulf News. His Damascus-based company has already dubbed nearly 60 Turkish dramas in the last four years.

Success of ‘Nour’

The series “Gümüş,” sold in Arabic-speaking markets under the name of “Nour,” the name of the main character in the dubbed Turkish drama, which was shown on the Saudi-owned MBC satellite channel in 2008, immediately became a hit, according to Gulf News. The high ratings it got were partly due to its unconventional use of colloquial Arabic. Non-Arabic dramas used to be more commonly dubbed into classical Arabic.

Another Turkish series popular in Arab households is “Aşk-ı Memnu” (Forbidden Love). It was among the top 10 series in Egypt last year.

The duration of Turkish dramas, some of which can exceed 100 episodes, also helps bring in advertising, because viewers get hooked on a series and become loyal to the channel that airs it.

“Once you get someone hooked, it is not just 20 or 30 episodes, it is 60 or 70 or maybe 90 episodes, so you actually guarantee an audience for a long time,” Veda Rizk, a Dubai-based TV and marketing consultant, told Gulf News.”

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“Hürrem, Süleyman return to Russia” – Hürriyet Daily News

Turkish TV series ‘Muhteşem Yüzyıl’ were shown in a 11-hour marathon by national broadcaster Damasniy TV in Russia. There were only short commercial breaks." Source : Hürriyet

“The first 13 episodes of the hit Turkish TV series “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (The Magnificent Century) were shown in a back-to-back, 11-hour marathon in the country on April 1.

National broadcaster Damasniy TV began airing the first season of “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” at 10:10 a.m. on April 1 and continued to broadcast all the shows until 11 p.m. There were only short commercial breaks during the marathon.

A Turkish website in Russia, Turkrus.com, said Damasniy TV had announced that the new episodes of the series would be aired starting April 7.

Damasniy TV promoted the series, which is known as “Velikolepniy Vek” in Russian, saying it was “the story of Roksalana [Hürrem Sultan] and Süleyman.”

Russian viewers reacted angrily after the series went on hiatus after the first 13 episodes were shown, with some claiming broadcasts of the series had been discontinued because of negative reaction.

Damasniy TV, however, said their broadcasting agreement only extended to the first 13 episodes and that talks were continuing for the airing of the new episodes.

Officials promoted the series in its Russian trailer with the words teaser, “Palace decoration, magnificent chic dresses and unbelievable success in the world. The story of concubine Roksalana, who stole the heart of the sultan … Roksalana and Süleyman.”

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“Radical groups campaign against Turkish series in Serbia” – Hürriyet Daily News

“A Serbian radical group has launched a campaign against a Turkish TV series that is currently very popular in Serbia, Anatolia news agency reported.

“Nashi 1389” members have been putting up posters around Belgrade to protest Turkish series in general, but most specifically “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (The Magnificent Century), which the group claims “shows ruler Süleyman as a positive historic personality.”

The posters show Süleyman and a national Serbian hero. The captions contain insults against the former while the latter is praised by the movement.

“Nashi 1389” is known to be the current successor to the Chetniks, a nationalistic organization that took part in the killings in Bosnia between 1992 and 1995, as well as in both world wars.

Turkish TV series are now extremely popular in the region.”

Source : Hürriyet Daily News

“Mavi on the rise in the Middle East due to popular Turkish TV. shows” – Sabah

Source : Sabah

“With new stores opened in Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Mavi General Manager Cüneyt Yavuz explains that popular Turkish television shows have had a positive influence in increasing their regional sales.

Turkish television series are breaking rating records in the Middle East, which in turn is positively affecting the trade volume of Turkish firms operating in the region.

According to Cüneyt Yavuz the General Manager of the famous ready- to- wear brand, Mavi is extremely well-known and in demand in the Middle East and therefore they have now opened stores in new important markets such as Libya, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Yavuz explains that the Middle Eastern market has been an interesting experience for Mavi and states that due to the import of Turkish television series, interest is on the rise. Yavuz also states that with Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ acting in the brand’s commercials for the past three years, he has now become an important ambassador for Mavi in the region.

Yavuz says that in the short period of five years’ time since they were first established, Mavi quickly became the leader of Turkey’s jean market, however wanting to expand further; they first opened up stores in Germany and then entered the American market, the homeland of the blue jean, where they have successfully established a chain of Mavi stores. “

Source : Sabah

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