“Le film Vallée des Loups-Palestine, qui évoque l’affaire de la flottille de Gaza, est une virulente charge contre l’État hébreu.
L’honneur souillé des Turcs se lave dans le sang. Et c’est Polat Alemdar, héros du film Vallée des Loups-Palestine, qui se charge de le faire comprendre aux Israéliens. À l’affiche de tous les cinémas de Turquie depuis vendredi, ses nouvelles aventures le conduisent en Israël pour venger les neuf victimes turques du Mavi Marmara – le ferry pris d’assaut par Tsahal en mai dernier. Si les tribulations de ce Rambo version turque, mi-justicier, mi-voyou, promettent de caracoler en haut du box-office, elles ne vont pas arranger les relations entre la Turquie et Israël, moribondes depuis le fiasco de l’abordage de la flottille affrétée par une ONG islamiste turque à destination de Gaza.(…)”
“Emotions are running high in Turkey due to a new television series that supposedly paints an embarrassing picture of the private life of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I, thus tarnishing the image of the Ottoman Empire. Jürgen Gottschlich in Istanbul has the details
They came equipped with drums and dressed as Janissaries. Hundreds of demonstrators, mobilised by the Saadet Party, gathered outside the gates of the private television network Show TV and loudly demanded that a newly launched television series be taken off air. Muhtesem Yüzyil (in English “The Magnificent Century”) is currently the most hotly debated series on Turkish television.
It tells of Suleiman the Magnificent and his harem. For Islamists, the right wing and those nostalgic for the days of the Ottoman Empire, the show represents a base betrayal of the country’s great past. After all, the 40-year reign of Suleiman Kanuni (known in Turkey not as “Suleiman the Magnificent”, but as “Suleiman the Lawgiver”) was the heyday of the Ottoman Empire.
In no other era was the empire as powerful, never was it larger than in the sixteenth century, when Suleiman’s troops first conquered Budapest and then laid siege to Vienna. This heritage is nothing to laugh about. Its critics are calling the series “inappropriate”, “disrespectful”, “impertinent”, “stupid” and, to make matters worse, “historically incorrect”, saying that it consequently has no business being broadcast on Turkish television.
This is the opinion not only of conservative demonstrators on the street, but also of Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinc, who publicly announced that he would wield his authority to try to stop the broadcasting of the harem soap opera. The state-run Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) was convened without delay. […]”
” Turkish television series exports were worth more than $50 million last year, with more than 70 programs watched in more than 20 countries, particularly in the Middle East, Balkans and Turkic language-speaking countries.
Exported productions include extremely domestically popular series such as “Aşk-ı Memnu,” “Ihlamurlar Altında,” “Ezel,” “Gümüş,” and “Yaprak Dökümü,” and set new export records for Turkish television programs last year.
The share of Turkish television series in the foreign programs category in the Middle East is around 60 percent, according to Fırat Gülgen, board chairman of Calinos Holding. “There are more than 300 television channels and they show a great interest and demand from Turkish series’,” Gülgen told Anatolia news agency.
Calinos Holding’s distribution of content such as films and television series to domestic and international markets represents 80 percent of the country’s total television exports.
The export price of an episode of the more popular Turkish shows used to vary between $30 and $50, Gülgen said. “The price of an episode of a series is now varying between $500 and $20,000. Turkish soap opera Ezel is now the most expensive.”
“Deli Yürek” (Wild Heart) was the first Turkish television series Calinos exported, in 2001, Gülgen said. “We exported Deli Yürek first to Kazakhstan. However, Binbir Gece, or Thousand and One Nights, another soap opera focusing on a Turkish love story, have beaten ratings records in many countries and generated growth in the market.”
Some countries such as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan that share similarities with Turkish culture were the first countries to import Turkish series. “Sales to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are still ongoing,” Gülgen said.
“After markets in the Middle East, we have opened to the Balkan countries,” Gülgen said. “Some 30 series are currently being exported to different Balkan countries. After Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania, we entered the Greek market last year and plan to enter the Ukrainian market in April this year.”
“In a sense, we export culture,” Gülgen said. “One of the most important factors in Turkish series’ popularity is Turkish culture. More than 300,000 tourists have visited the waterside house where the soap opera ‘Gümüş’ is shot, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Culture. These series have huge potential.”
Calinos is also currently working with a Qatari company on a project about the conquest of Istanbul, Gülgen said. “We will make a 30-episode series and have allocated $25 million for the project.”
“Parce qu’elles captivent chaque semaine les téléspectateurs et les fidélisent, parce qu’elles permettent aux chaînes d’échapper à des audiences erratiques et de compresser les coûts de production, les séries télévisées constituent aujourd’hui le genre majeur à la télévision. Le plus plébiscité et le plus propre au médium.
Un phénomène culturel mondialisé
Ces programmes confèrent au petit écran, longtemps traité de robinet à images, une légitimité culturelle qui lui faisait défaut. Or, paradoxe, ces mêmes séries contribuent à en abolir les frontières en s’émancipant de leur lieu d’origine. Si elles sont nées avec le petit écran, les séries sont devenues un phénomène culturel mondialisé, un laboratoire où s’inventent de nouvelles formes de narration, depuis vingt ans, soit la période au cours de laquelle les canaux de diffusion se sont multipliés.
D’abord propulsées par la généralisation des DVD qui permettaient d’enchaîner les épisodes, elles prospèrent grâce au Web, qui répond au besoin d’échanges et d’urgence créés par l’addiction. D’autant que cette migration, contrairement au cinéma, n’entraîne pas un sentiment de déperdition, comme c’est le cas lorsqu’on passe du grand au petit écran.(…)”
“Quelle situation atypique que celle de la fiction télévisée en France ! Dans une étude portant sur 2009 et publiée en novembre, « La fiction américaine dans les audiences des grands pays européens », le Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA) révèle qu’en Europe, seule la France compte quatre séries venues des Etats-Unis parmi ses cinq meilleures audiences. L’Allemagne, l’Espagne, l’Italie et le Royaume-Uni placent au contraire leurs propres fictions en tête des audiences du genre.
Certes, en Espagne, les séries américaines font presque jeu égal avec les fictions nationales, mais les deux plus fortes audiences de 2009 sont dues à des téléfilms espagnols. En Allemagne et en Italie, on retrouve la première série américaine respectivement en 10e et 17e places des meilleures audiences de fiction. Et au Royaume-Uni à la 62e place, avec un public deux à trois fois moindre que pour les fictions britanniques(…)”
“En quinze ans, les séries télévisées sont devenues une addiction planétaire, le genre majeur de la télévision. Des collégiens aux cinéastes tels Jean-Luc Godard fan de “Docteur House”, des mères au foyer aux universitaires, elles captivent tout le monde.
Même les plus réfractaires à la télévision, ceux qui ne la possèdent pas, ceux qui la qualifiaient avec mépris de “robinet à images”, se sont découvert un appétit pour ce type de programmes.
De fait, les séries ont conféré au petit écran la légitimité intellectuelle qui lui faisait défaut. En moins de cinq ans, elles ont fait leur entrée à l’université où elles sont désormais étudiées et disséquées par des professeurs de diverses disciplines. Cet engouement a été impulsé par le renouveau des séries américaines, des créations plus percutantes, ou jouant de cette longue durée que seul permet le feuilleton pour bâtir des fresques historiques et des peintures sociales riches en détail et en ambigüité psychologique. En somme des méga-films.
DES PAYS ÉMERGENT SUR LE MARCHÉ MONDIAL
Cette hégémonie toujours puissante des productions anglo-saxonnes dissimule le fait que, peu à peu, des pays émergent sur le marché mondial. Tel est, par exemple, le cas des pays scandinaves, de la Grande-Bretagne, d’Israël, du Brésil et de l’Italie qui, aujourd’hui produisent des œuvres de qualité qui s’exportent bien.
En France, les chaînes de télévision ont progressivement réduit les cases dévolues jadis au cinéma et privilégient désormais la fiction sérielle au téléfilm. Cette culture populaire et mondialisée – une même série peut être diffusée simultanément dans 120 pays comme ce fut le cas, en novembre, de “Walking Dead” – essaime sur tous les écrans.
On les trouve à la télévision, évidemment, sur le téléphone portable mais surtout l’ordinateur, le Web étant le lieu d’échanges et de consommation massive des séries télévisées davantage piratées que le cinéma.”
“Soap operas from Turkey are forging trust and curiosity among residents of Bulgaria, its long-time foe.
Mistrust between Bulgarians and Turks runs deep. The Ottoman Turkish Empire ruled over Bulgaria for some 500 years. Some still look back to 1876, when Ottoman forces committed atrocities against Bulgarians, before the country’s independence in 1908. Today, Matthew Brunwasser reports for PRI’s The World that many Bulgarians have begun to warm to Turkey’s influence because of a not-so-secret weapon: soap operas.
Turkish soap operas are hugely popular in Bulgaria today. One of the main Bulgarian channels shows Turkish soaps six and a half hours a day.
“We are bigots when it comes to Turkey,” Atanas Harizanov, a resident of Perushtitsa, Bulgaria, told PRI’s The World. Perushtitsa was nearly wiped out in the 1876 uprising, but even there, residents are warming to the Turkish soap operas. “They are changing the consciousness of the people of Perushtitsa, despite the deeply buried pain of the past,” Harizanov said. “I don’t believe that its hatred anymore. But little by little, the Turkish soap operas are building a bridge of trust and curiosity.”
Bulgaria used to consider its southern neighbor backward and strictly Islamic, Brunwasser reports. The shows are changing that by showing glamorous Istanbul locations and attractive characters living modern lifestyles. […]”
“Starting with the big success of Foreign Groom (Yabanci Damat) a few years ago, Turkish soap operas have been getting increasingly more popular in Greece. Following the Foreign Groom, Binbir Gece (1001 Nights) was shown from October 2009 on and broke the record by drawing 1.1 million Greek viewers each day. Even on the first day of the World Cup, Binbir Gece captured 30.5 percent of viewers, overshadowing the opening game between France and Uruguay – the first time that a soap opera ever beat the ratings of a soccer match in Greece. In the winter season, additional Turkish soap operas, Forbidden Love (Ask-i Memnu) and Silver (Gumus), will start broadcasting on Greek channels.
The strong interest of Greek viewers in Turkish soap operas is seen as the indication of strong similarity between Greek and Turkish cultures by many. The rapprochement that started between Greece and Turkey in 1999 turned the two countries once enemies into strategic partners. During Turkish Prime Minister’s last visit, Turkey and Greece had a joint cabinet meeting and formed a High Level Cooperation Council between the two countries.
Turkish soap operas have been enjoying great popularity all throughout the Balkans, including but not limited to Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina. Lately, some of these series have also started being shown in some Central European countries such as Slovakia and the Czech Republic. This overwhelming interest inevitably increases the interest for Turkey and the Turkish language in the region.”
“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. […]”
“Culture within a community varies from place to place. In the Arab world, and the GCC in particular, culture has a distinctly private and isolated nature consisting of habits, traditions and historical legacies that control the intellect and mind. These traditions command respect and demand sanctity – even those that violate norms, laws and perhaps even some religious teachings relating to justice, equality, acceptance, coexistence, citizenship, and partnership. Evolution of societies’ structure is often a long and complicated process with unidentifiable consequences. Thus, good governance of implications of cultural changes is unachievable until after the evolution has seceded to other generations. In recent years, a different culture has emerged, sweeping down from the north. More specifically, it began in Turkey and gained acceptance and spread widely in the structure of Arab society in an unprecedented manner compared to other cultural influences across the world. Turkish soap operas, movies, and songs dubbed in Arabic are storming GCC homes uninvited. Such media content is dominating public viewership as it is gaining popularity and is watched by millions from across the Atlantic to the Gulf and across continents by Arab expatriates living in Europe and the USA. It is sweeping across online forums and blogs, recording the highest rates of viewership and commentary. So popular is Turkish pop culture amongst Arabs that Turkish productions have surpassed those from Arab and Western countries.
The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet recently published a report on Turkish dramas and soap operas over the past few years. The report indicates that 22 countries are currently importing Turkish dramatic television series. Since Turkey started to export such productions in 2006, they have achieved record sales in the Arab world, Greece and Brazil. Further, the proceeds of Turkish TV production sales exceed $3m annually. Eighteen Turkish series are now airing in North Africa, Greece and Iran, and are among the most widely circulated productions in Egypt, the UAE, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. The Turkish soap opera titled “Noor” has attracted over 85 million Arab viewers over the age of 15 years, consisting of nearly 50 million women, the equivalent of more than half of the adult Arab female viewers of any TV drama in the Arab world in recent years. As for the second most popular Turkish dramatic series in the Arab world, the show “Years Gone Past” has totalled 67 million viewers, including nearly 39 million women.
It would not be an exaggeration to state that there is a significant cultural impact wrought by these TV programmes on the cultural structure of Arab societies. The shared historical and religious circumstances between Turks and Arabs may have played a large role in endearing Turkish culture to Arabs more than to others, and made the impact of its media much stronger. There are several media reports on incidences of jealousy spurred by the stars of Turkish soap operas dubbed into Arabic. Among these incidences are divorce cases in the Arab world where women request that their husbands treat them more romantically, along the lines of what they see on the TV series “Noor”, or show them greater emotion, such as displayed by the star Yahya in the series “Years Gone Past”. One of the most amusing news stories in this regard is that of a Bahraini family that arranged a marriage between a Bahraini young woman named Noor and their son, Mohammed. To the family’s surprise, the reason for a delay in the response to their arrangement was the prospective bride’s desire for Mohammed to change his name to “Mohannad” (similar to the hero’s name on the Turkish series “Noor”). […]”
“En visite dans la province de Mardin pour visiter le plateau de la série TV “Aşk Bir Hayal” (L’amour est un rêve), Çelik a fait remarquer qu’un nombre croissant de séries télévisées turques sont diffusées sur les chaînes du Moyen-Orient, des Balkans et des nations turcophones et qu’elles brisent constamment les records d’audience de prime-time.
“Il y a un grand intérêt pour la Turquie à travers le monde. En outre, de nombreuses sociétés de production cinématographique désirent tourner des films ou des séries télévisées en Turquie où elles sont fascinées par la beauté naturelle du pays qu’on voit dans les séries télévisées turques”, a noté Çelik, soulignant aussi que certains films étrangers et projets télévisés sont actuellement en préparation pour être tournés en Turquie. […]”
“Given the Ottoman Empire’s history in the Middle East, Turkey’s secularism upon the founding of the republic has left many with a less than favorable perception of the country among Arab states. However, the tide seems to be changing. Anyone who has lived in the Middle East or at least visited an Arab household has witnessed the predominance of a soap opera culture that engrosses men, women, and children alike. One of the most popular soap operas in the Middle East currently is in fact a Turkish series entitled Gumus (or Noor in Arabic), and it’s safe to say that it has helped “conquer hearts and minds in the Arab world.”
It’s not just the striking good looks of the lead characters that appeals to the Arab viewers; the series also tackles contentious norms that a male-dominated region would otherwise sweep under the rug. The show’s courage in taking on these issues has struck a chord with audiences beyond Turkey, providing a fine touch of cultural diplomacy to complement the Turkish government’s broader initiatives.
The German Marshall Fund held a roundtable discussion April 21 on a recent survey released by the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV, a former CIPE partner) that measured the perception of Turkey among seven Arab nations: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iraq. Indeed, this “newfound positive image” is also demonstrative of Turkey’s shift in its foreign policy priorities since the 1990s and its ongoing efforts to be an influential player in the region (as seen in the globe-trotting Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s numerous trips to the region). Turkey’s growing role as a mediator in the region and Prime Minister’s Erdogan’s heated exchange with Israeli president Shimon Peres at Davos in support of Palestinians following the 2008 Gaza war have slowly led to a warming of opinion for the nation of 72 million. […]”
” Who said that capturing hearts and minds in the Muslim world is mission impossible? It’s just that the United States hasn’t figured out the right way to do it. Sometimes, it seems the U.S. government still thinks that public diplomacy is exchange students and a few diplomats who can speak Arabic and struggle on satellite television in the region to explain U.S. foreign policy.
Welcome to the power of the stars! I am not talking about the ones in the sky, but rather a handful of good-looking blond and dark Turkish movie stars who are taking the Arab world by storm. Four-hundred years after a nasty occupation of Arab land by the forefathers of these young Turks, the Arab world is embracing Turkey, opening its living rooms and flocking around their television sets to watch over 140 episodes of second-rate Turkish soap operas that don’t even do well in Turkey itself.
If only the sultans knew that it could be done on the cheap, they could have dispatched these handsome men and beautiful women and assembled them to conquer hearts and minds in the Arab world on their behalves, saving the treasury endless amount of cash.
But how could how this state of affairs be?
Quite simply, the Arab world is taking to these soap operas like a duck to water. The final episode of the most famous one — broadcast on MBC TV — called Gumus (or Noor as it’s known in Arabic), pulled in 80 million viewers from Morocco to Palestine. For Saudi women, the example of the main Muslim character “Muhanned” treating his wife well was an especially powerful one. And the message was clear: Islam is not the reason why they were being ill-treated by their own husbands. The idea of watching Muslim men and woman who share the same values and cultural background with their brethren in the Middle East is a very appealing one because it raises taboo subjects and challenges conservative values by someone from within, as opposed to an outsider.
The Turkish soaps have been daring and candid when it comes to gender equality, premarital sex, infidelity, passionate love, and even children born out of wedlock. Coming from a Muslim country like Turkey (even one imbued with a strong secular identity) made it easy to penetrate the thick walls of conservatism in the Arab world where bigotry and misogyny often masquerade as “moral” or “ethical” issues.
As a result of the popular soaps (which by the way are watched not only by women but entire households), Turkey has carved out a strong place for itself on the Arab street. Thousands of rich Gulf Arabs flock to Turkey on every occasion, as Istanbul has lately rivaled London and Paris as a favorite tourist destination. While enjoying touring the Topkapi Palace or reminiscing in the glory of the Muslim empire, Arab tourists also hope to catch a glimpse of the handsome actors as they film in one of Istanbul’s many suburbs. In 2009, Arab tourism to Turkey took a dramatic rise, including a 21 percent rise from the United Arab Emirates and a 50 percent rise from Morocco.
Since Noor’s inception in 2006, there have been a slew of other Turkish soaps on Arab screens, the latest of which, Asi, is an adaption of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice. Its main leading characters were played by two rising stars, Murat Yildirim and Tuba Buyukustun. Both are becoming instant celebrities in the Arab world, with some reports even suggesting that one of them was requested for an audience with a member of the Saudi royalty. The soaps’ success lay on several elements: the quality of production, the stories of ordinary people wrapped in glamorous lifestyles, and the easy-to-listen-to Syrian accent in which these soaps are dubbed. The Turkish actors in these shows have become known throughout the Arab world by their translated character names — whether “Muhanned,” “Amir,” “Lamis,” or “Noor” — and many viewers don’t even know their real Turkish names.
The broader impact of the story is that a simple television production can be utilized as a potent social tool to effect change and influence thinking — and in the process win a few million hearts and minds. And Turkish soaps are not just about romance, glamour, and secular values wrapped under a Muslim banner. A new soap with more overt political overtones has recently gone on air on MBC (where I am a reporter). Sarkhet Hajar as it is known in Arabic (Cry of a Stone) is the latest Turkish soap causing a frenzy among the Arab viewers. It depicts the daily life of Palestinians under Israeli military occupation, and it looks like a dramatization of a daily news bulletin. In response, blogs and websites have been going wild debating its influence. It was filmed in Turkey, the West Bank, and even inside the al-Aqsa mosque. Although it mainly focuses on the suffering of Palestinian civilians, it also digs deep into the division among the Palestinian factions and talks about taboo issues such as honor killings. It even dares to raise the hitherto unthinkable: a love story between an Israeli Shin Bet officer and a beautiful young Palestinian activist.
In the end, Turkey and its government should be thankful to the soap stars who are conquering hearts and minds on their behalf — and on the cheap. The government can claim the benefit and ride a wave of popular support among the Arab masses, something which burnishes Turkey’s already popular image in the Arab world (indeed, Turkish Prime Minister Receip Tayyip Erdogan is already considered a hero on the Arab street due to his strong show of solidarity with the Palestinian people). Between topics including romance and social upheaval that rattles traditional values, and highlighting the Palestinian cause, one can see a blurring of the lines between art and reality, and the effect one has on the other.”