Arab wives wish husbands were more like Turkish actor Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ: US academic
Arab viewers wish their husbands were more like the famous Turkish actor Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ after watching Turkish soap operas, according to Miriam Berg, who is an assistant professor at Northwestern University’s Doha campus in Qatar, daily Habertürk reported on March 12.
“We have seen how divorce rates went up after ‘Gümüş’ was aired [in 2008],” Berg said, referring to a soap opera that included Tatlıtuğ in its cast.
“Women want their spouses to be more like Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ,” she added.
It is not only the casting but also the settings and storylines of Turkish shows that attract Arab viewers, Berg said.
“The striking love stories between the female and male characters in the show have opened a window in the sheltered worlds of Arab women. They have begun to expect their spouses to treat them as they have seen [in the shows],” she added, also saying the word “Turkish” is now almost synonymous with the word “romantic” in the region.
The female characters, which depict strong women in the shows, also add something to the Arab women’s perspective, and help to break taboos, she added.
Viewers also relate to seeing generations of a family living in the same house, Berg said.
Berg said these shows have even helped break the perception that Ottoman times were times of oppression in Arab lands.
“They are saying: ‘At least it was a Muslim empire,’” Berg added.
For this reason television series have become Turkey’s most influential soft power tools, giving tourism numbers a boost, the academic said.
“But we should not forget that the shows’ success also runs parallel to Turkey making financial gains,” she added.
Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmuş on March 7 blasted the Dubai-based pan-Arab broadcaster MBC’s decision to remove all Turkish programs from its channels, saying “a couple of politicians cannot just sit at a desk and decide who will watch which film.”
“Those days are over,” Kurtulmuş said, adding that the Turkish Foreign Ministry would work to solve this issue.
“The Turkish film industry has been growing considerably and many people are eager to watch Turkish films all around the world,” he said.
A report published in The National on March 4 revealed that the MBC “received instructions to remove all Turkish programs” from its channels until further notice.
The MBC’s sudden removal of hit Turkish dramas over the past week is set to continue for the foreseeable future.
The MBC Group spokesman Mazen Hayek did not comment on who was behind the decision, or whether it came from inside or outside the company, The National reported.