As the stomach turnsAs the stomach turns

No more Turkish soaps in Cairo

Angered by Ankara’s ‘narrow-minded’ view of the fighting in Egypt, local TV stations stop airing popular melodramas

Popular Turkish melodramas such as Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman Ki ('As Time Goes By') are taboo for the time being in Egypt. (screen capture: YouTube)
Popular Turkish melodramas such as Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman Ki ('As Time Goes By') are taboo for the time being in Egypt. (screen capture: YouTube)

Maybe Turkey’s prime minister will learn to keep his mouth shut about the goings-on in Cairo, now that the Egyptians have decided to hit back where it (melodramatically) hurts most — the Turkish soap opera industry.

Days after Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for putting Egypt’s military leaders on trial for the violence that has swept the country over the last week, several Egyptian television channels have decided to boycott a number of popular Turkish dramas and soap operas.

The decision came as a protest over Erdogan’s comments and support of ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi, Al-Arabiya reported on Sunday.

Turkey’s ruling party has supported Morsi all along, hailing his democratic election to the presidency last year. Turkey opposed Morsi’s July 3 removal by the Egyptian military and remains critical of what Erdogan has referred to as the “inaction” of the West to the recent violence.

More condemnations came from Turkey on Monday, when Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag blasted the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the group’s Turkish secretary-general for not taking a stance against the violence in Egypt.

Bozdag said that Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu should resign rather than lead an organization that remained inactive. Huseyin Celik, deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling Islamic-based party, criticized the secretary-general on Twitter over the weekend.

Ihsanoglu told Hurriyet newspaper that he has personally branded the events in Egypt an “atrocity” and “human rights violation” but that the 57-member OIC works by consensus.

Turkey and Egypt recalled their respective ambassadors last week as relations worsened.

Tarek Nour, who owns the Al-Kahera Wal Nas television channel, told Al Arabiya that the financial loss that his station would likely suffer for the boycott was a price worth paying to protest what he called Turkey’s “narrow-minded” view of Egyptian events.

As most Turkish soap operas are privately produced, the boycott is considered unlikely to affect the government directly, but Nour said that hopefully the move would nevertheless apply pressure to Ankara.

Oh, the drama.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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