Government minister hits out at MBC's Turkish drama boycott
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Rebecca Hawkes
| 07 March 2018

Turkey's culture and tourism minister Numan Kurtulmuş has slammed MBC's decision to cease broadcasting Turkish TV shows across the Middle East, according to local reports.

MBC has not confirmed who gave the order to cease broadcasting Turkish content but the directive immediately affects six Turkish shows, including crime drama Al Dakheel and period drama Anta Watani, which were removed, mid-series, from MBC schedules at the beginning of March.

The move also follows recent reports that the Saudi Arabian Government was taking a controlling stake in the Dubai-based media group..

Responding to the incident, Kurtulmuş said that Turkey's Foreign Ministry would work to resolve the issue. "A couple of politicians cannot just sit at a desk and decide who will watch which film. Those days are over," Kurtulmuş was quoted as saying in Hurriyet Daily News.

MBC acquired its first Turkish drama serial, Gumus (known as Noor in Arabic), in 2007. Dubbed in Arabic, it proved a big hit with viewers across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Since then it has programmed a range of Turkish soap operas to great success.

In 2017 Turkish TV content was exported to 100 countries worldwide and earned revenues of US$350 million, according to a study by Interpress Media Services .