Turkish Soaps Slip by Middle East Censors

Magnificent Century Turkish Soap Controversy

The wildly popular sexy series stay a step ahead of politicos and rake in big bucks for producers

In the West, attitudes toward sexual themes on TV are relaxed, but in the conservative Middle East, such themes are taboo — except when they come disguised as a Turkish soap opera.

Earlier this month, Pakistan’s media regulator banned a TV condom ad produced by U.S. nonprofit DKT Intl. in which a newly married man recommends the product to a friend. The attempt to introduce family planning to a country of 180 million with an annual 2% population growth was “in sheer disregard to our sociocultural and religious values,” the country’s media watchdog said in a statement after receiving thousands of complaints from Muslim viewers.

At the same time, steamy Turkish soaps are hugely popular in Pakistan, including “Forbidden Love,” featuring busty Turkish beauties in miniskirts, and peppered with love triangles and incest; “Noor,” about a woman pursuing a man who is mourning his dead lover; and historical bodice-ripping megahit “Magnificent Century.”

Produced by Tims Prods., “Century,” based on 16th-century figures in the Ottoman empire and focused on an influential slave in the sultan’s harem, has been sold by distributor Global Agency to 48 countries, mostly in the Middle East, reaching an estimated 200 million viewers.

Turkish soap operas hit a reported $130 million in foreign sales last year, up from a mere $1 million in 2007. Turkish culture is hot in the Muslim world, and what’s depicted on the shows is seen as a counterinfluence to auds living under ultraconservative rule in region.

In Turkey, the show scores an average 27 primetime share on Wednesday nights on Star TV.

Since all three shows depict Muslims engaging in varying degrees of scandalous behavior, conservative Pakistani pols have proposed a ban on the Turkish sudsers, and so has Pakistan’s United Producers Assn., claiming soaps’ dominance in the ratings undermines local TV producers. But so far no government action has been taken.

Egypt, too, has seen a political backlash against the popular programs: In August, several channels pulled the shows to protest Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s support of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi after Morsi’s ouster by the military.

Ironically, Erdogan himself has railed against “The Magnificent Century,” claiming the show was a historical travesty. Though the soap’s star, Meryem Uzerli, has left the program, production continues — and viewers continue to watch.

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  1. nancy says:

    Yes, I had some knowledge about you, Variety; as I learned and as you prove it at first being a magazine site, you try to be ridiculous with wrong info and jargon mouth so that’s why you all write nonsense and I feel myself as someone who wasted his time with nonsense not having any news value!

  2. nancy says:

    You wrote just opposite; it’s not the woman pursuing the man but it’s the man who is pursuing his wife in whole series. We know you try to write everything in jargon mouth and opposite the facts not wanting the facts but nevertheless it’s disgusting your way and you are so ridiculous!

  3. nancy says:

    You proved such an asparagas magazine journal you are by that nonsense article of yours! I saw that in the others which I came accross with, too!About that link below:
    First; Pakistan is not Middle East, develop a little your geography!
    You say ; (“Noor,” about a woman pursuing a man who is mourning his dead lover)!!! What a nonsense explanation not concerned a little with Noor’s theme! First if you don’t know anything about something search about it from the articles and see if there’s anybody else writing a little bit nearer to yours. What is the concern between what you wrote and Noor’s theme!!! Is there anyone writing such silly and abnormal things!!! If you had looked just one of the articles about it, because Noor (original Gümüş) is the most popular series of the world of all times so the world had and has written about it for years and still is writing about its extraordinary success, so you could find one of them easily! The series is called as the best love story ever in the world and it’s known by the great true love of the man to his wife Noor (see how funny you are while saying ‘mourning his dead lover(!!!)’ and ‘pursuing him(!!!)’If he had been mourning his girlfriend -not anything more- would he marry Noor! The main subject about that girlfriend is the accident you can’t tell it not mentioning about the accident if you mention about that unimportant figure girlfriend, the problem is not mourning but it’s depression because there was an accident and that girlfriend was pregnant to his baby and the most important thing he believed it was because of him and it happenned so tragically in front of his eyes. It was just his depression about his guilty conscience and hisd mourning was for his dead baby not for her of course otherwise how can you explain the marriage with Noor in a love series in a Cinderella story! And what does it mean ‘pursuing’, I think you’re poking fun at the readers (if there are(!) who is pursuing; he didn’t allow her to go while she wanted to leave him at first episodes.) So the words are not enough to tell the silliness of yours and how different things you wrote from the series and also opposite to the theme! Your silly explanation if it’s an explanation is just like saying; ‘The sun is cooling the world so that’s why we are warming’(!!!)
    Just that!!!

    Note:’Forbidden Love’ is a failure everywhere especially in the Middle East.Just because of that disgusting series Kıvanç Talıtuğ who was in that series, lost all popularity which he got by Noor’s extraordinary great success.In the Balkans, it’s the same, it was also removed from broadcasting after 4 days because of the low ratings.In Pakistan you say some silliness but the success belongs to the music of the series made by a Pakistani Music producer even it’s not belonged the original music of the series.And the Magnificient Century is a failure in the Middle East (Arab world), too.You just tell some silliness just taking Pakistan and whole of lies!!!Pakistan is not the Middle East and Muslim world. Muslim world gave the answer to those two disgusting Forbidden Love and Magnificient Century with their reactions by not watching them and they became failures.
    And Noor; even it’s a big disrespect putting it at the same place with those two disgusting series Forb. Love and Magn. Century . Noor is the most successfull series ever and called as the best love story ever in the world and it’s known by the great true love of the man to his wife Noor, as I mentioned before; so it’s loved because it’s a great true love story and tells wonderful feelings with the two head roles (Noor&Mohanned) who are accepted as the best chemistry, that’s why it got an extraordinary success.
    So while writing something first search a little bit and so you won’t become and seem funny or ridiculous!

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