Turkish government lashed out Saudi-owned broadcaster MBC over TV soaps

Vastavam web: A Turkish government minister has lashed out at a decision by Saudi-owned broadcaster MBC to stop airing Turkish soap operas, the state-run news agency Anadolu reported, amid ongoing tensions between Ankara and some Gulf Arab states.MBC announced the move on Tuesday, saying it would replace Turkish soaps — which have long been a hit across the Middle East — with “premium quality Arabic dramas that embody the values and traditions of the region.” Responding to MBC’s decision late on Tuesday, Turkish culture minister Numan Kurtulmus was quoted by the news agency as saying that it was not up to politicians to “decide… who watches what film. Those times have passed.”

Kurtulmus said the foreign ministry would take “necessary initiatives,” without elaborating further.He noted that Turkish soap operas had made “rapid progress” in recent years and were now popular “all over the world.”.Erdogan has carefully worked to improve Ankara’s relations with Riyadh, after they were hit by the ouster of president Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, a close ally of Ankara, in 2013.

The Turkish leader has made only very veiled criticism of Saudi Arabia during the crisis.MBC spokesman Mazen Hayek told AFP Tuesday that the network’s decision to stop an average of six hours a day of Turkish programming — mid-season — was driven by economic and cultural considerations.