Just for the Curious: Turkey, a Soap Opera Country

Just for the Curious: Turkey, a Soap Opera Country
Fecha de publicación: 
31 January 2023
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The truth is… nobody expected it, but in the last ten years Turkey has become one of the largest producers of soap operas worldwide and in 2020 only the United States surpassed it as a global exporter of television fiction series.

The figures speak for themselves: around 150 Turkish productions have been sold to almost the same number of countries in the world. As for the audience, what can I tell you: there are 600 million, spread over four continents, the number of viewers who have seen one of these dramatized shows.

But this data cannot surprise you, because in the land of Félix B Caignet, an audience used to watching the good and the best in terms of soap operas, has been captivated by more than one proposal from Gold Film or Madd Entertainment, the company in which two of the largest Turkish production houses were merged in 2018 with the explicit purpose of achieving a broader distribution of their materials.

Turkish novels are known as dizi, and among the most popular in Latin America are productions as diverse as Hakan the Protector, a series with a lot of fantasy and mystery; La novia de Istambul, inspired by a real love story; What is Fatmagul's fault? based on a literary work full of twists, revenge, and also passions; another of the favorites on this side of the planet is historical fiction that, under the title "The Sultan"; recreates the era of Soliman the Magnificent and Dreaming Bird, which is close to comedy.

How do they manage to hook us? First the usual: love stories and casts who are beauty personified. Some experts consider that even a certain sluggishness in the dramaturgy, the pleasure in details such as looks, gestures, music... are elements that differentiate them from the Latin American way of doing things and have their share of influence on the resounding success that Turks have achieved. ¨

But also, no studio recording, the locations of the Turkish soap operas truly take us on a journey through the most incredible places in Istanbul, the Bosphorus Strait... it’s shot in real streets and palaces and the final result always seeks a certain cinematographic air that also hold its charm.

Turkey is a transcontinental nation, because although most of its territory belongs to the western part of Asia, there’s another segment of the country that is located in Southern Europe. Although the capital is Ankara, the most populated city, and possibly the best known is, undoubtedly, Istanbul.

Right there, in the Bosphorus Strait, the continents are connected, or divided: it’s a body of water that runs thirty kilometers and delineates the borders between Asia and Europe.

Tradition tells that King Byzas asked the Oracle of Delphi for advice on where to establish his new city, the answer was: "In front of the land of the blind". Perhaps that doesn't say much to you and me right now, but it served as a password to that sovereign to reach the Bosphorus, where he discovered the marvelous Golden Horn estuary, a natural harbor that has protected all those who settled in Istanbul: Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans.

Several specialized travel sites include Turkey among the ten most touristic countries in the world and it’s not strange if we take into account that with a single ticket we can get to know two different and ancient cultures: Anatolia, also known as Asian Turkey, is one of the regions of the world that has remained populated for the longest time and Eastern Thrace is not far behind with an age of 40 thousand years.

On top of that nearly twenty World Heritage Sites, including the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, which was inscribed in 1985. The so-called "church of holy wisdom", which has been an Orthodox cathedral, a mosque and also a museum. For almost a thousand years it was considered the largest church in the world. Until today it preserves an impressive beauty and many stories to tell, accumulated during fifteen centuries of existence. It is said that the rest of the mosques in Istanbul were built in its image and likeness.

To these attractions we should add a sui géneris gastronomy due to such mix of influences, with dishes Like bulgur, beef meatballs, goat's milk cheesecakes and rahat lokum or Turkish delight, a traditional sweet that in five hundred years has conquered diverse tastes, from Napoleon to Picasso, who is said to have eaten it almost daily. And a little detail to wrap things up: tulips, even though we associate them with the Netherlands, they were first grown in Turkey.

Translated by Amilkal Labañino / CubaSí Translation Staff

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