State channel TRT cancels comedy series after actors join Gezi protests
The show gained a large following over the past three years.The producers of a Turkish comedy series titled “Leyla ile Mecnun” (Leyla and Mecnun) have said Turkey’s state-run TV channel TRT will cease broadcasting the show after the production’s actors joined the Gezi Park protests.
“TRT management has told our firm that it will cancel the series ‘Leyla ile Mecnun,’ which is our production. We thank everyone who contributed [to the show] and particularly our audience for everything,” Eflatun Film wrote on its Twitter account.
The show gained a large following over the past three years, and fans of the series hit social media after the announcement, starting several hashtags about the decision that began trending in Turkey.
Known for its unique scenario and eccentric humor, “Leyla ile Mecnun” had become a phenomenon among its audience and has been watched and shared via social media many times.
The lead actors of the series, Ali Atay, Ahmet Mümtaz Taylan, Cengiz Bozkurt, Atilla Şendil, Cihan Ercan and Şafak Pekdemir also shared a video in early spring in which they made fun of the government’s decision to rebuild the Artillery Barracks in Taksim Gezi Park. The actors supported the Gezi Park protesters and were exposed to tear gas during the demonstrations.
Last week, TRT officials had said the series had recently suffered from poorer ratings. “The decision on whether the series will be canceled will be given next week. We have invited Onur Ünlü, the producer of the series, to Ankara over the issue. We have told him that the series is getting low ratings. The series are being watched over the Internet by many people, but no one is watching it on TRT. We have talked with Onur Ünlü over how we can make people watch in on TRT. We are evaluating [the future of the series] now,” said an official.
The Gezi Park protests started May 31 when Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality bulldozers attempted to demolish central Istanbul’s unique green area, Gezi Park. The Turkish police’s heavy-handed intervention caused the protests to spread to 79 of 81 provinces.
Four protesters were killed by police and some “anti-protest civilians,” while a police officer died after falling off a bridge as he was chasing protesters. More than 10 protesters have lost their sight, and nearly 7,000 protesters were injured in almost 40 days of unrest, according to the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).