Turkish TV series enjoy increasing popularity on Arab stations
The Turkish series ‘’Gümüş’’ (Silver) and ‘’Ihlamurlar Altında’’ (Under the Linden Trees) were some of the first Turkish productions to break viewing records on Arab stations, and in their wake, there are now 10 Turkish-produced series being aired on various Arab stations. Though “Valley of the Wolves” is a relative newcomer to Abu Dhabi TV, this series’ star actors -- Necati Şaşmaz, Oktay Kaynarca and Özgü Namal --are already tremendously popular with viewers. In Arabic, the series is called ‘’Wadi al-Diab,’’ while the main character, who is named ‘’Polat Alemdar’’ in the Turkish incarnation, is named ‘’Murad’’ in the Arabic-dubbed version. Likewise, the character “Elif’’ has been renamed ‘’Raha’’ for Arab viewers, while the character ‘’Çakır’’ is named ‘’Şakir.’’ People who want to watch “Wadi al-Diab” on Abu Dhabi TV can tune in at 8:00 p.m. every day of the week and at 1:00 a.m. for reruns.
‘Gümüş’ (Silver) players Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ and Songül Öden.
With the addition of “Valley of the Wolves” to the lineup of Turkish productions on Arab stations, the total number of Turkish series on stations such as Abu Dhabi TV, MBC and various Syrian channels is now 10. Other Turkish productions currently being broadcast for Arab viewers are “Elveda Derken” (While Saying Farewell), “Yersiz Yurtsuz” (Without Home or Nation), “Genco,” “Yabancı Damat” (Foreign Son-in-Law), “Menekşe ve Halil” (Menekse and Halil), “Kırık Kanatlar” (Broken Wings), “Kaybolan Yıllar” (The Lost Years) and “Bıçak Sırtı” (The Back of the Knife).
Executives at some Arab stations that air Turkish series have noted that public reaction amongst Arabs to the recent outburst by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at Davos over Israel’s attack on Gaza has sparked an increase in the popularity of Turkish series. But they also note that viewers in Arab countries appreciate the production quality, the storylines and the music of these Turkish series.
Perhaps more significant for Turkey, the Turkish series being shown on Arab stations appear to be prompting more visits to Turkey by citizens of Arab nations. In part thanks to the series ‘’Silver’’ and ‘’Under the Linden Trees’’ shown last year on Arab stations, more than 2 million Arabs chose Turkey as their vacation destination last year. It is believed that this trend will only increase with the new and tremendously popular “Valley of the Wolves,” which boasts stunning views of İstanbul sites such as the Bosporus and Kız Kulesi.