Turkish soap operas again in the news…
ISTANBUL- Turkey’s famous soap operas got some more publicity today in the New York Times.
The Turkish soaps are vastly popular throughout the Middle East. They present an Europeanized view of Muslim dominated Turkey, something that people in the largely more socially repressed Arab countries apparently like to see.
From the NYT article:
Through the small screen, Turkey has begun to exercise a big influence at Arab dinner tables, in boardrooms and bedrooms from Morocco to Iraq of a sort that the United States can only dream about. Turkey’s cultural exports, not coincidentally, have also advanced its political ambitions as it asserts itself on that front, too, sending a flotilla to Gaza, defying the United States over sanctions on Iran, talking tough to its onetime ally, Israel, and giving Kemal Ataturk’s constitutionally secular state an Islamic tinge.
Politics and culture go hand in hand, here as elsewhere. If most Arabs watch Turkish shows to ogle beautiful people in exotic locales, Arab women have also made clear their particular admiration for the rags-to-riches story of the title character in “Noor,” a strong, business-savvy woman with a doting husband named Muhannad. Dr. Shafira Alghamdi, a Saudi pediatrician, was on vacation here the other day, shopping with two Saudi friends, and volunteered how Arab husbands often ignore their wives, while on “Noor,” within what remains to Arabs a familiar context of arranged marriages, respect for elders and big families living together, Noor and Muhannad openly love and admire each other.