Ankara slams Dubai-based broadcaster MBC’s decision to remove Turkish programs
Culture and Tourism Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has 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 few days 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.
“There is a decision that concerns several media outlets in many Arab countries that Turkish dramas are to be taken off air, including MBC. That was at 1 a.m. Saudi Arabian time on March 2,” Hayek reportedly said.
The directive does not seem to have affected Dubai TV which, according to its schedule published online, continues to screen the drama “Sultana Kosem” (Kösem Sultan) five days a week.
The online streaming service Netflix is also showing almost 20 Turkish programs, including the 2011 historical drama “The Magnificent Century” (Muhteşem Yüzyıl) and the 2009 espionage thriller and Gulf smash-hit “Ezel.”
Recently, Turkish TV dramas have attracted considerable attention. A study published last year by Interpress Media Services revealed nearly 100 countries watch Turkish TV dramas and Turkey ranks after the U.S. as second in the world in the drama export with $350 million in revenue.