Egypt TV channels boycott Turkish dramas in Erdogan protest

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Several Egyptian TV channels have launched a boycott on Turkish drama series, in a protest against Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s stance on the violent unrest in the populous Arab state.

Erdogan, Turkey’s Prime Minister, urged the U.N. Security Council to intervene after the popularly backed military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Mursi. On Saturday, Erdogan lashed out at the lack of international response on Egypt, saying organizations including the U.N. and EU should be ashamed of their inaction.

That drew the scorn of Egypt’s Cinema Syndicate and The Egyptian Creativity Front - a group of writers, poets, artists, film makers, journalists as well as scientists – which urged others to stop airing Turkish TV soaps, which have become widely popular in the Arab world.

A number of TV channels, including Al-Hayat, Al-Nahar, and Al-Kahera Wal Nas, responded to the call by boycotting the soaps.

Al-Hayat TV channel informed its viewers that starting Saturday there will not be any Turkish drama TV series due to Erdogan’s stance.

The owner of Al-Kahera Wal Nas, Tarek Nour, told Al Arabiya that in spite of the financial losses that they may face, they are keen to convey a message of protest to Turkey. Turkish dramas are said to attract healthy advertising rates on his channel due to high viewership they receive.

Nour expressed his discomfort over Turkey’s intervention in Egypt’s internal affairs, describing Ankara’s position on the situation as “narrow minded.”

While Turkish soaps are usually produced in privately owned studios unrelated to the government, the boycott could put some pressure on Ankara, said Nour.

He highlighted how the soaps have helped Turkey lure more tourists from Egypt and the region, adding that boycott will result in “huge losses” for Turkey.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim Hamouda, the general director of Al-Nahar, said his TV station had also decided to stop broadcasting Turkish drama. He urged other TV stations to do the same.

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