Samanyolu TV increasingly popular outside Turkey

Samanyolu TV increasingly popular outside Turkey

“The Nation” tells the story of an idealistic doctor who travels from İstanbul to the Southeast in a bid to help the people there, who have been suffering because of the PKK.

March 21, 2010, Sunday/ 11:19:00
Private Samanyolu Television (STV), which broadcasts many programs, highly rated in Turkey, that promote values such as honesty, helpfulness and tolerance, is reaching out to other nations in the world thanks to programs it exports to these countries.The channel’s programs that are broadcast in more and more countries are entering the list of the most popular programs there, leaving their rivals far behind.

STV has now around 20 of its programs broadcast in foreign countries such as Afghanistan, Iran, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Azerbaijan and Mongolia. The TV station aims to expand its target audience to include Arab states and highly populated European countries.

“The Nation” (“Tek Türkiye”), “Axis of Righteousness” (“Doğruluk Ekseni”), “World of Mysteries” (“Sırlar Dünyası”) and “Fifth Dimension” (“5. Boyut”) are among the most popular STV programs overseas, Fatih Gök, a coordinator who is responsible for the channel’s international sales and acquisitions, told Sunday’s Zaman.

 Among these programs, “The Nation,” for instance, tells the story of a young, idealistic doctor who travels to the Southeast from İstanbul -- without knowing that he was born in the region -- in a bid to help the people there, who have been suffering for decades from terrorism perpetrated by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“World of Mysteries,” which has a metaphysical theme, narrates “true” stories based on letters that are received from the audience in which they tell about an instructive incident they lived through. The program communicates the idea that life is not as straightforward as it appears and gives the message that one can make the world a better place if one wishes. It also tells the audience that “there is a fate beyond fate, and people’s choices are also a part of this fate.”

Gök noted that “World of Mysteries” is the most popular program of Afghans and Iranians.

With regards to the influence of STV programs in the countries in which they are broadcast, Gök said: “The TV industry in Afghanistan had been occupied by Bollywood soap operas and movies, a situation about which the Afghan public was very disturbed. “World of Mysteries,” which began to be broadcast by the biggest TV channel of the country, TOLO TV, received much interest from the Afghan people, which prompted TOLO TV to purchase more STV programs,” Gök said.

He also noted that these programs were making dramatic changes in the lifestyles of people who watch them. Referring to a letter he received from an Iranian girl who identified herself as Helen, he said she wrote in saying how watching the program “Life Lesson” (“Hayat Dersi”) made a change for the better in her family.

“I am writing this letter to thank you because you saved us from a big disaster. My father, an alcoholic, used to make life a nightmare for us. As soon as he started watching your ‘Hayat Dersi’ program, something that we have been longing for for years has happened. He almost quit drinking alcohol. He is now an addict of your program, not alcohol. He never creates trouble in our house now. I hope this program will continue to be broadcast in our country,” wrote Helen.

“Life Lesson” is a program that dramatizes scenes that are based on true stories and introduces lessons. The program consists of three basic parts: “subject,” “life lesson” and “confrontation.”

In the “subject” part, a real life situation is shown; the lessons that can be taken from this case are discussed in the “life lesson” part. In this second part, Muhammed Bozdağ, a communication expert and also the referee instructor of the program, invites the party to admit their wrongdoing and admit remorse for their actions while he encourages the party that was wronged to seek their rights. In the “confrontation” part, the wronged party holds the other party accountable for whatever they have done.

“The important thing with our series is that they bring real-life situations to television with sincerity. While watching these series, one inevitably says, ‘I lived through the same incident being told here.’ So people draw lessons for themselves from the stories being told in the series. They engage in self-criticism and face their mistakes, which helps them care more about moral values. And this helps people stop making mistakes or committing crimes,” explained Gök.

About future projects, Gök said there were plans to export STV programs to European countries and Russia, while noting that the broadcast of these programs will contribute to dialogue with these countries.

“For example, if you think about broadcasting our series on a German channel in German, this will lead Turks living there to appreciate Germany. We contacted several ministers in Germany about exporting our series there and how they can win the appreciation of immigrant Turks. We are waiting for a reply from them. We believe that such a thing will develop tolerance and bring communities and the countries closer to each other.”

Brief information on the STV programs broadcast abroad can be found at the following Web site:

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