Turkish marriage shows on the rocks amid complaints
ISTANBULMatchmaking shows are a staple of daytime Turkish TV, but the matrimonial programs might be heading for an unhappy ending as repeated complaints about the shows have elicited promises from officials to meet with an eye to banning them from the airwaves.
“We find rating concerns for TV channels to be normal, but social responsibility should be considered, too. High ratings for a program do not prove the quality of the program,” said Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTÜK) President İlhan Yerlikaya during a recent visit to Directorate General of Press and Information head Mehmet Akarca.
RTÜK will meet on March 23 with the officials of national TV channels to discuss ending the broadcast of such programs.
During a recent interview with a provincial TV channel, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş described such programs as counter to the country’s customs, traditions, beliefs, Turkish family structure and the culture of Anatolia.
“RTÜK has received 120,000 individual complaints against these shows. These complaints come to the Presidency and Prime Ministry. Some of these shows are really out of control. They are against our family values, culture, faith and traditions. They have high ratings and high advertisement revenue because they are so popular,” he said.
Kurtulmuş said RTÜK was responsible for taking necessary steps regarding people’s complaints about the programs.
“A legal draft has been made about these shows. More sanctions need to be imposed. We are telling this to the relevant channels. They should have their own control mechanism. But if they cannot do it, the state will then be involved in it. RTÜK will make preparations about such programs that ruin Turkey’s social and traditional family structure. There are lots of differences in this country but the family structure is a value in common. So we are working on it.”
Heavy fines imposed
Turkish television viewers have made thousands of complaints about the programs in the past year on RTÜK’s hotline, web page and email, according to Anadolu Agency.
While there were 7,297 complaints in 2015, there was a record increase in 2016 to 94,792, prompting heavy fines from RTÜK.
Among the programs in question were “Kısmetse Olur,” “Zuhal Topal’la,” “Esra Erol’da,” “Evleneceksen Gel” and “Dest-i İzdivaç.”
Viewers mostly complained about public morality, actions that could hurt the institution of the family and the use of vulgar language.
Others criticized the shows for degrading marriage to material things, judging participants based on their appearance, broadcasting unpleasant behavior between the participants, repeating insulting statements, continuing to show the same sensationalist people for months or years and casting actors as ostensible participants in the shows.