Producers and actors of Turkey’s popular TV dramas were presented with plaques at a ceremony due to their great contributions to Turish tourism.
The producers and actors of Turkish TV dramas, which receive international acclaim and are important in encouraging tourism in the country, were presented plaques recognizing their contributions to Turkey’s promotion at a ceremony held by the Tourist Hotel and Investors Association (TUROB).
In a speech during the ceremony, Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay, praised those in the sectors of tourism and culture for objectively highlighting the beauty, richness and even the problems of the country to the world. He noted that in 2011 Turkey hosted the sixth-highest number of tourists holding foreign passports, surpassing Britain.
“In 2012, despite problems at our southern borders, we hosted some 32 million foreign tourists. Turkey gets nearly $25 billion in income from tourism. All people in the sector try to promote the country to the world but the most effective promotion is that of culture and arts. As a result of these efforts, the Turkish Culture and Tourism Ministry was chosen as the best tourism organization in Europe last year in Portugal. This is the result of our synergy.”
Günay said the ministry has aimed to support Turkish cinema in recent years, adding that they are preparing to develop a new cinema law. “TV dramas promote Turkey around the world on their own accord. I learned the names of many dramas and their actors while abroad over the years. I heard their names abroad for the first time and wondered about them. Many of my friends abroad joke that they organize their meetings and travels according to our TV dramas. They ask me ‘Is Turkey really so beautiful?’,” he said.
While the state had spent about 5 million Turkish Liras on cinema between 1990 and 2005, he said they have stepped up support to cinema since 2006 as in light of its prominence and influence.
“We have given some 110 million liras of support since 2006. We are working on a new cinema law. I will present it to the Council of Ministers in the coming meetings. We are trying to secure the rights of TV series actors. Once this law is made, we will have a more civilized cinema law.”
Günay also shared an anecdote of when he appeared in an episode of “Çocuklar Duymasın” (Children shall not hear) to promote the state’s then-newly initiated Müzekart (museum card) system a few years ago.
“I accepted the proposal to mention this card in the drama. I played for a few minutes and told the children in the drama about this card. When I went to the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations a few days later, I asked about the sales of the card and they told me that the sales had recently increased thanks to the TV drama.”
Popularity of Turkish dramas abroad
TUROB Chairman Timur Bayındır said that Turkish TV dramas are world-class quality and they are proud to see Turkish dramas aired on prime time abroad. “These dramas promote Turkey to millions of foreigners.”
Turkish actor Halit Ergenç, an actor in one of the most popular Turkish TV drama abroad, “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (The Magnificent Century) as the Ottoman sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, spoke of the criticisms the drama has received. “If a project is good, it can face such attacks.”
He said the popularity of Turkish TV dramas, particularly in the Middle East, was a source of pride. “We did not estimate that our international success would reach this point. Neighboring countries are closely following us. It is very pleasant that Arabs watch us, too.”
Following the speeches, the actors and producers of TV dramas including “Muhteşem Yüzyıl,” “Kurtlar Vadisi” (Valley of the Wolves), “Ezel,” “Suskunlar” (The Silent), “Binbir Gece” (A Thousand and One Nights), “Öyle Bir Geçer Zaman ki” (Time Goes By) and “Yalan Dünya” (World of Lies), received their plaques.