“Turkish dramas receive tourism awards” – Hürriyet Daily News

Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay pose with the producers and actors of some popular Turkish TV dramas at the ceremony. AA photo. Source : Hürriyet

“Producers and actors of Turkey’s popular TV dramas were presented with plaques at a ceremony due to their great contributions to Turish tourism

The producers and actors of Turkish TV dramas, which receive international acclaim and are important in encouraging tourism in the country, were presented plaques recognizing their contributions to Turkey’s promotion at a ceremony held by the Tourist Hotel and Investors Association (TUROB).

In a speech during the ceremony, Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay, praised those in the sectors of tourism and culture for objectively highlighting the beauty, richness and even the problems of the country to the world. He noted that in 2011 Turkey hosted the sixth-highest number of tourists holding foreign passports, surpassing Britain.

“In 2012, despite problems at our southern borders, we hosted some 32 million foreign tourists. Turkey gets nearly $25 billion in income from tourism. All people in the sector try to promote the country to the world but the most effective promotion is that of culture and arts. As a result of these efforts, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry was chosen as the best tourism organization in Europe last year in Portugal. This is the result of our synergy.”

Günay said the ministry has aimed to support Turkish cinema in recent years, adding that they are preparing to develop a new cinema law. “TV dramas promote Turkey around the world on their own accord. I learned the names of many dramas and their actors while abroad over the years. I heard their names abroad for the first time and wondered about them. Many of my friends abroad joke that they organize their meetings and travels according to our TV dramas. They ask me ‘Is Turkey really so beautiful?’,” he said.

While the state had spent about 5 million Turkish Liras on cinema between 1990 and 2005, he said they have stepped up support to cinema since 2006 as in light of its prominence and influence.

“We have given some 110 million liras of support since 2006. We are working on a new cinema law. I will present it to the Council of Ministers in the coming meetings. We are trying to secure the rights of TV series actors. Once this law is made, we will have a more civilized cinema law.” […]

Popularity of Turkish dramas abroad

TUROB Chairman Timur Bayındır said that Turkish TV dramas are world-class quality and they are proud to see Turkish dramas aired on prime time abroad. “These dramas promote Turkey to millions of foreigners.”

Turkish actor Halit Ergenç, an actor in one of the most popular Turkish TV drama abroad, “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (The Magnificent Century) as the Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, spoke of the criticisms the drama has received. “If a project is good, it can face such attacks.”

He said the popularity of Turkish TV dramas, particularly in the Middle East, was a source of pride. “We did not estimate that our international success would reach this point. Neighboring countries are closely following us. It is very pleasant that Arabs watch us, too.”

Following the speeches, the actors and producers of TV dramas including “Muhteşem Yüzyıl,” “Kurtlar Vadisi” (Valley of the Wolves), “Ezel,” “Suskunlar” (The Silent), “Binbir Gece” (A Thousand and One Nights), “Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman ki” (Time Goes By) and “Yalan Dünya” (World of Lies), received their plaques.

Source : Hürriyet

“Greeks tune in to Turkish soap opera, despite critics views” – SES Türkiye

Article by Andy Dabilis and Erisa Dautaj for SES Türkiye in Athens and Istanbul

“Greek nationalists view the series as being a Turkish invasion of sorts, while others see opportunities for beneficial cultural exchange.

Greeks have been enthralled by Turkish TV series “The Magnificent Century” in recent months. The series is comprised of historical recreations of 16th-century Sultan Suleiman’s life and slick soap opera-like tales of intrigue and family drama, prompting alarmed nationalists to issue warnings that fans should stop watching.

Greek viewers said they love the vicarious thrill of seeing how rich Turks live, and the shows make Istanbul seem an irresistible place to visit, while others relate to the problems of ordinary Turks.[…]

The series has become so popular that nationalist Thessaloniki Bishop Anthimos and the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party have both condemned the show and urged Greeks not to watch.[…]

The Turkish shows’ prevalence is also a matter of economics as Greek television stations find it less expensive to buy them than to produce their own.[…]

Other Turkish shows such as “Ezel,” “Ask ve Ceza” and “Ask-I Memnu” show panoramic shots of Istanbul, alluring to potential visitors.[…]”

Source : SES Turkiye

” ‘Valley of the Wolves’ star becomes honorary culture, tourism attaché” – Hürriyet Daily News

Source : Hürriyet

“Turkish actor Necati Şaşmaz, better known as the character Polat Alemdar from the TV series “Kurtlar Vadisi” (Valley of the Wolves), has been named an honorary culture and tourism attaché for Turkish Cyprus.

Şaşmaz received the Turkish and English honorary attaché documents from Turkish Cypriot Prime Minister İrsen Küçük and Tourism Environment and Culture Minister Ünsal Üstel on March 14 at a ceremony.

Noting that he would start working for the promotion of Turkish Cyprus abroad, Şaşmaz said, “I will do my best to carry out this mission.”

He said the late northern Cypriot President Rauf Denktaş had performed in their TV series, the actor said: “We were thinking of making [Turkish Cyprus] a tourism country. We have mentioned it in our series a few times, and we realized it thanks to Denktaş.”

Küçük said northern Cyprus was in great need of promotional work. While noting that he did not have too much time to watch TV, the prime minister said Şaşmaz’s series was popular in the country.

Küçük also denied rumors made some by some media circles that he had also had a part in “Valley of the Wolves.”

The prime minister said Denktaş’s appearance on the show had contributed to the country’s tourism and added that Şaşmaz would highlight the tourism sector in the country.

After speeches, Şaşmaz received the Turkish attaché documents from Küçük and the English document from Üstel.

The TV series “Valley of the Wolves” was created by Osman Sınav. The show became an instant hit with its references to Turkish politics, its unabashed abuse of social sensitivities on patriotism and its unprecedented scenes of violence that included “assassination and torture on television,” according to Hürriyet Daily News reviewer Emrah Güler.”

Source : Hürriyet

“Turkey tourism sector buoyed by ‘Arab Spring’ ” – Cumhuriyet

“Turkey’s rising regional status in the Arab world swept by popular uprisings against dictatorships is translating into a booming tourism sector at a time of chill in ties with one time ally Israel.

The number of Arab tourists visiting Turkey has dramatically increased over the recent years, making the country a favourite destination in the Arab world, while Israeli tourist numbers have plunged sharply, official data showed. […]

The number of Arab tourists visiting Turkey increased by 16 percent in the first eight months this year, according to the ministry’s statistics.

Istanbul is regarded as one of Turkey’s main tourism destinations as well as Antalya in the Mediterranean.

Some 1.4 million Arab tourists visited Turkey in the period from January to August this year, up from 1.2 million in the same period in 2010 and from nearly 912,000 in 2009.

“We expect to reach 1.7 million Arab tourists in 2011,” said Mehmet Habbab, head of the Turkish-Lebanese Business Council. […]

But another factor is the popularity of Turkish soap operas in the region, with tourists eager to see the Ottoman palaces, ancient sites of Istanbul, and other locations featured in the television series.

“Wherever you go in the Arab world, people talk about Turkish soap operas. Last year Turkey got 67 million dollars in income solely from exporting TV series to Arab countries,” said Habbab.

Source : Cumhuriyet

“Cross-cultural dynamics of Turkey’s soft power ” – Sunday’s Zaman

A Saudi Arabian family watches the turkish soap opera “Noor” in Jeddah. The show has taken the Arab world by storm, provoking a flood of Arab tourists to Turkey. Source : Sunday's Zaman

“Turkey’s regional prowess has been on the increase for some years now. This is partly boosted by Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s “zero problems with neighbors” policy, focused on building essential economic, political and cultural ties with the neighboring Arab region. […]

Yet it is the cultural realm of influence that we see Turkey evolving into a regional point of inspiration. Turkey is building bridges but not just across the Bosporus. Turkish cultural products are going global. In the Arab world Turkish fever seems to be sizzling. From Damascus to Dubai, Turkey has become a hot topic. The success of Turkish soaps and television serials such as “Gümüş” and “Sarkhet Hajaar,” amongst others, are putting Turkey at the center of the hearth and home in the Arabic-speaking world. Turkey is producing the ingredients and the Arab world is hooked and falling in love. The phenomenon goes so far that the soap “Gümüş,” dubbed “Noor” for the Arabic-speaking audience, has become sacred TV time for its avid viewers.[…]

Rana, a 24-year-old office manager from the West Bank, is one of the many fans who are gripped by Turkish soap fever. When asked about the reasons as to why a show such as “Gümüş” or “Noor,” as it has been dubbed for the Arabic audience, is such a success, her response was that “the show deals with issues that we are dealing with.” Rana’s contemporaries share a similar notion. The soap’s appeal to Arab audiences is due to the fact that Turkey is a Muslim country. The issues portrayed in the folds of the glamorous drama have a familiar context that Arab viewers are able to interpret into their own social dynamics. Young people sitting in cafés in Ramallah attribute the soap’s success to the fact that Turkey’s culture and traditions are so similar to their own.

Yet don’t be mistaken in thinking that the issues being dealt with in “Noor” are toned down for a more conservative audience. Viewers suggest that the attraction behind the success of these soaps is the appeal on an aesthetic level of the sleek and professional production delivered by a glamorous and attractive cast which provides a sense of escape in addition to offering a source of social aspiration. The show manages to successfully navigate its way around contemporary taboos which Turkey has had the advantage of experiencing due to its own course of history; the struggle between and the successful symbiosis of modernity and tradition. This is welcomed by the audiences, who appear to be looking for inspirational ways to deal with taboo issues and evolving social dynamics becoming more prevalent in their societies such as gender roles, divorce, premarital sex and abortion. All of these issues have been addressed in episodes of “Noor.” This is creating the effect of placing Turkey as a destination of aspiration in terms of guidance along the map of societal development. This can be attributed to the reality that Turkey presents a successful Muslim country on a committed and increasingly developing democratic trajectory. Hence the image of Turkey is also evolving and becoming more pertinent in the eyes of its Arab neighbors.[…]

Source : Sunday’s Zaman


“Winds of Turkish soap operas on Greek TV channels” – Cumhuriyet

” Turkish soap operas are expected to attract thousands of Greeks in the upcoming TV season in Greece.

According to Greek media news reports, the winds of Turkish soap operas in Greece began with “Yabanci Damat” (“Foreign Son-in-Law”) and peaked with “Binbir Gece” (“1001 Nights”).

Sources said that Greek TV channels choose Turkish soap operas more than they do U.S. ones based on costs.

Turkish soap operas “Ask-i Memnu” (“Forbidden Love”) and “Gumus” (“Silver”) will be broadcast on Greek TV channels during the upcoming winter season.”

Source : Cumhuriyet

“Bringing together soap opera fans and religious figures” – Al Arabiya

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

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

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

Source : Al Arabiya

“Turkish soap operas influencing Arab culture and politics” – The Peninsula

“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”). […]”

Source : The Peninsula


“Séduits par les feuilletons turcs, les touristes arabes affluent en Turquie” – RTL Info Belgique

Source : Turquie News

“Avec leurs héros glamours, leurs héroïnes émancipées et leurs décors de rêve, les séries télévisées turques diffusées dans le monde arabe ont créé un engouement sans précédent pour la Turquie, qui voit affluer les touristes venus marcher sur les pas de leurs acteurs préférés.

Cem Polatoglu a du mal à y croire : en l’espace d’un an, son agence de voyage Baracuda Turizm, spécialisée sur le marché arabe, a doublé le nombre de ses clients. Et pour lui, il n’y a pas d’erreur possible, ce sont bien les feuilletons, à commencer par le désormais célèbre “Nour” et son héros Mohannad aux yeux bleus et au sourire ravageur qui sont à l’origine de cet afflux. “Avant, on emmenait les touristes arabes visiter les mosquées d’Istanbul, on allait aux thermes de Bursa (l’ancienne Brousse, nord-ouest). Maintenant, plus personne ne veut y aller, aux cures thermales”, raconte-t-il. “Tout le monde veut visiter les maisons où les séries ont été tournées, dîner dans le restaurant vu à la télé”.(…)”

Source : RTL Info Belgique

“The Turkish Soap Opera “Noor”, More Real than Life” – Qantara

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source : Qantara.de

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