Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat – Nur, Rafif, Elif and Yilmaz among others are without doubt the stars of the silver screen today. These names have paved the way for the success of Turkish television drama series in the Arab world.
Turkish soaps such as ‘Nur’, ‘Years of Loss’ and ‘Bouquet of Flowers’, which have been dubbed into the Syrian Arabic dialect to be broadcast on Arab satellite channels have rapidly captured the attention of various groups of society, not only women. They have previously been dubbed into German, Romanian and other European languages to be broadcast in Europe.
These television dramas deal with social issues within the framework of overlapping stories and dramatic plots for suspense. These series look at issues such as love, family values, society, unemployment, poverty and greed from an Eastern angle.
If most Arab viewers in general, and Saudis in particular, are able to imagine life for instance in Mexico as a result of the numerous dubbed drama series that reflect major problems within that society, life in some countries that share some ideological and ethnic links with Arab societies, such as Turkey for example, is somewhat unknown to the majority that has not had the opportunity to visit that country.
Turkish drama series, which have gained substantial popularity, portray the Eastern attitude towards family, women and traditions. There are similar taboo issues and as a result of the dubbing, it seems as if the series is based on another Arab society.
Abdulaziz, 22 years old, is a dedicated fan of Turkish drama series. He admires the acting, the plots and the courage shown in dealing with taboo subjects in Eastern societies.
Social worker Layla Abu Shama emphasised that the popularity of Turkish series amongst women in particular is proof that these programs deal with topics that correspond to their own personal issues and aspirations. “It is important that parents talk to their children and discuss their interests as this reflects what is going on in their minds,” she said.