Turkish soaps steal Hollywood's thunder
ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
For some American viewers, Turkish soap operas are so catchy that they have put Hollywood movies aside.
Kristen Korie, a middle-aged woman from Florida, said it has been more than a decade since she switched to Turkish series from Hollywood movies. “I left Hollywood around 2007 and started watching international
entertainment TV on Netflix. So I watched a few Turkish series on Netflix and I got hooked,” she said during a Skype interview with Anadolu Agency.
Impressed by both the storylines of the series and the performances of the actors and actresses, Korie said they captivate the audience in a way Hollywood does not.
"The main thing is that they connect with people and it's real. They reflect real people and how they feel."
According to the Culture and Tourism Ministry, Turkey ranks second in exports of TV series only to the U.S. - the birthplace of Hollywood.
Aficionados of Turkish series gather on a Facebook group called Turkish Dramas Appreciation Group, with more than 9,000 members from around the globe.
Korie is among the managers of the social media gathering to discuss the latest Turkish dramas, actors and actresses, as well as to help one another find English subtitles.
Launched in early 2017, the group is just one among hundreds of such rapidly growing fan pages on social media.
The members of Korie’s group are largely from Pakistan, she said, citing a recently conducted survey, with Americans coming in second.
Turkish series are more than just entertainment for Korie. “I would like to live there when I retire, at least for maybe a year, so I can visit everywhere,” she said, noting her interest in Turkish culture and traditions.
Içerde [Inside], Fatmagül’un Suçu Ne? [What is Fatmagul’s Crime?], Kara Sevda [Blind Love], and Kurt Seyit and Sura top the list of the group members, said Korie, with Kenan İmirzalıoğlu and Engin Akyürek their favorite actors.
Sometimes finding it hard to wait for online access, the group organizes events to watch soaps on Turkish TV channels with a translator helping them.
Some are even learning the Turkish language, Korie said. “I wish that the Turkish producers, actors and staff would really understand how popular their series are with English speaking people.”
Istanbul tour with Turkish movie enthusiasts
Lena Gibson, 34, who traveled to Turkey’s tourist hub of Istanbul in April 2018, was among a group of 65 foreigners discovering the metropolis.
A rehabilitation counselor from Chicago, Gibson said the tour gathered members of the Facebook group from the U.S., Canada, Australia, South Africa, and the U.K.
“None of these people had met before; we all convened simply for a mutual admiration for Turkey, its culture, history and entertainment industry.”
Visiting several historical places during the Istanbul trip, the group also met some Turkish celebrities.
Turkish shows are currently aired in more than 140 countries and have reached export figures of over $350 million per year.