Egyptian artists sound the call to boycott Turkish soaps

Ahram Online, Monday 5 Aug 2013

Angry with Turkey's stance on the removal of president Morsi from power, Egyptian artists and filmmakers snub popular Turkish soap operas

Turkish Series 'Hareem El Sultan'

A number of Egyptian artists and filmmakers initiate a boycott of Turkish soap operas to protest "the position of the Turkish government towards the [Egypt's] 30 June Revolution."

Turkish television soaps are staggeringly popular and in light of recent developments in relations with Egypt, some Egyptians are challenging that.

On 30 June - the year anniversary of the inauguration of Mohamed Morsi into presidency - Egyptians took to the streets en masse calling for his ouster. Some call it a "military coup" against a democratically-elected president and others see it as the military's concession to the masses that despised Brotherhood rule as inept.

Considering the support the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government has shown for Morsi, calls for a boycott have been raised by a number of production companies and the Egyptian Cinema Syndicate.

According to television director and the head of the Egyptian Cinema Syndicate Mossad Fouda "Such an initiative was important. It received mass attention from different production companies; both private and governmental. Also, many satellite channels prevented the broadcasting of Turkish series as a protest to the Turkish intervention in Egyptian affairs and because of its negative stance towards the 30 June Revolution."

Fouda foretells that once the political impasse is resolved, Turkish soap operas will not have the chance to be promoted as before and will not receive the mass attention they once enjoyed.

"Many locally-made Egyptian series came under threat by Turkish soap operas, which do not offer any new artistic material," Fouda critiqued.

Moreover, the head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union, Shokry Abu Emera, who signed a number of Egyptian- Turkish protocols that gives rights to Egyptian television to broadcast Turkish series, postponed their broadcast after Turkey's response to the current political situation in Egypt.

The Associations of Arab writers likewise confirmed their support for the boycott of Turkish soap operas in a statement.

According to writer Mohamed El-Gheity: "Boycotting the Turkish soap operas is a national duty and I was one of the first to attack this type of drama because I have information that they are carried out under the supervision of the CIA through the production companies. This is all a contribution to the provision of drama to spread chaos, crush and smash identities of societies and question the idea of Arab nationalism in favour of the US-supported Turkish project."

El-Gheity added that on a technical level, the drama presented is pale and regurgitates a cliché of only four storylines. Whoever has the least bit of patriotism should boycott, he asserts.

Actress Samira Ahmed had recently announced her participation in a new series, which co-stars a Turkish actor. She said that any second role actor in a soap opera shouldn't be Egyptian. "Various different Turkish production companies have wanted to work with us, but under the circumstances I have changed my mind and I'm going to change this actor with any other nationality; either Lebanese or Syrian - but not Turkish. I don't accept any attacks on my country and after their government's remarks I was bound to change my mind and position."

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