Major Arab media network MBC removes all Turkish dramas

Cairo - By Weedah Hamza and Shabtai Gold, - Arab broadcaster MBC Group, a Saudi Arabian company, has removed all Turkish dramas from its vast network of channels, a spokesman confirmed on Monday, in what appeared to be the latest fallout from the political crisis in the Gulf.

The Dubai-based broadcaster's decision covers multiple media platforms and TV channels across a number of Arab countries, spokesman Mazen Hayek told dpa. The decision came into effect on March 2.
MBC is seen as the largest entertainment-focused media network in the Arab-speaking world.
Among the channels dropping the content is MBC Masr, an entertainment channel in Egypt, by far the Arab world's most populous nation.
Hayek said the move was intended as a stimulus for the production of native Arab content.
"There is now an opportunity to compete with Turkish dramas," the spokesman said, adding the objective was to have Arabic dramas that were "able to be competitive, regionally and globally."
However, the decision comes amid tensions in recent months between Gulf Arab nations and Ankara, in part over Turkish backing of Islamist groups and its support for Qatar.
Last year, a Saudi-led alliance of several nations broke ties with Qatar and launched a boycott of the country, saying it was linked to extremist groups and was cooperating with Iran. Turkey and Iran quickly stepped in to ensure steady supplies of food and other goods.
Turkish dramas have been gaining a foothold in the Arab world for more than a decade.
Several current Turkish dramas have turned to focus on Ottoman-era events. The history of the Ottoman Empire's legacy in the Arab world is fraught, with some viewing it as colonialism.

Monday, March 5th 2018
By Weedah Hamza and Shabtai Gold,

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