This video might be soon available on Youtube or any other video platform with English Subtitles. Till then take some time to read how Turkish drama came into rising and became one of the largest consumed content worldwide.
Rise of Turkish Drama
Turkish television drama (Turkish: Türk dizileri) has grown radically since the 2000s. Most dramas reflect Turkish culture and are the country’s most well-known economic and cultural exports. Turkey is the world’s fastest-growing television series exporter and has currently overtaken both Mexico and Brazil as the world’s second-highest television series exporter after the United States. The television industry has played a pivotal role in increasing Turkey’s popularity in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North Africa.
Turkish series are mostly produced in Istanbul, as television companies chose to settle there after the wave of liberalization for private television in the 1990s. Turkish television channels producing dramas include TRT, Kanal D, Show TV, Star TV, ATV, Fox, TV8, and Kanal 7. The Turkish television series market is marked by stiff local competition: out of the 60 series produced every year in the country, almost 50% do not run for longer than 13 episodes due to the strong competition among the different local channels, resulting in the high quality and popularity of the longer-running productions.
Çalıkuşu was the first Turkish TV series exported internationally in 1986 to the Soviet Union. Turkish television shows are almost always available in multiple languages, dubbed or subtitled to accommodate the target country’s language. The success of the Turkish television series has boosted tourism as well, as visitors are keen to see the locations used for their favorite shows. The sudden and immense international popularity since the 2000s of Turkish TV dramas has been widely analyzed as a social phenomenon.
In addition to broadcasts on television, Turkish series are followed by fans on legal and illegal internet platforms in many different languages.
Today, a season of the average Turkish drama is around 35-40 episodes. New episodes are filmed 6 days a week to keep up with the demanding production schedule, and crews can work up to 18 hours a day.
Each episode of a popular Turkish drama today is usually between 120 and 150 minutes in length (excluding advertisements), which is much longer than a typical episode of an Americas or Western European series, which averages at around 30 to 60 minutes. However, when shown in the Balkans and southeastern Europe, episodes of Turkish dramas are usually split into shorter segments, usually not exceeding more than 60 minutes.
Turkey’s first TV series was produced in 1974. The series was called Aşk-ı Memnu, which was adapted from the eponymous 1899 novel by Halid Ziya Uşaklıgil. The series was released on TRT, the public broadcaster of Turkey. The period of TV dramas on just TRT continued until 1986, being referred to in Turkey as the “single channel period” (Turkish: tek kanal dönemi) and the shows themselves being called the “old TRT series” (Turkish: eski TRT dizileri). TRT was known for its adaptations of Turkish classic novels into historical TV mini-series.
Turkish Yeşilçam films (English: green pine), were more popular at the time. Yeşilçam stars didn’t play in TV series. The 1970s was the golden age of Yeşilçam. Yeşilçam was the world’s 4th biggest cinema. A supporting actor played in 3 films in a day. Yeşilçam movies are known for iconic unforgotten songs. Soundtrack songs are still widely successful. It being called Turkish: Yeşilçam şarkıları or Turkish: Yeşilçam müzikleri.
Other Turkish TV channels appeared in the 1990s, and TV production increased as a result.
Turkish TV series produced between 2000 and 2005 were between 60 and 80 minutes in length. Scenarists couldn’t finish scripts on time. Before more soundtrack music added scenes. The soundtrack music was widely successful. Turkish TV series changed a long music video clip.
Turkish TV series in 2005–2010 were, on average, 90 minutes in length. TV series became more popular than Turkish cinema, which mostly consisted of festival movies and comedy movies. Adaptations of Turkish classic novels began to be produced. Authors whose works were commonly adapted included Reşat Nuri Güntekin, Orhan Kemal, Halid Ziya Uşaklıgil, Peyami Safa, Ayşe Kulin, Ahmet Ümit, Nermin Bezmen, Hande Altaylı, and Elif Şafak. However, these adaptations usually transformed the stories from their late 18th- 20th-century settings to contemporary times. Book sales increased 10-fold, but these adaptations were not popular among authors and literary critics. One critic stated, “You imagine that Madame Bovery or Anna Karenina is in a shopping mall. It’s terrible. The adaptations aren’t literary. There weren’t historical places, political, sociological. Characters of Turkish classic change or don’t die. Classic political novel changes only love story”.
In the 2010s, series ranged from 120 to 150 minutes in length on average. One episode of Turkish TV series is like a movie. It’s period drama, modern-absurd comedy, crime, romantic-comedy. The most watched comedy series were Avrupa Yakası (2004–2009), Leyla ile Mecnun (2011–2013), Kardeş Payı (2014–2015), İşler Güçler (2012–2013), 1 Erkek 1 Kadın (2008–2015), Yalan Dünya (2012–2014), Tatlı Hayat (2001–2004) and Belalı Baldız (2005–2006).
Since the late 2010s American streaming service Netflix has been producing original Turkish dramas and movies available on its platform. Netflix created its first original Turkish series, The Protector, with the release date on December 14, 2018. According to Nick Vivarelli of Variety, Netflix is the only streaming platform to buy substantial amounts of Turkish television series. Fatma, Love 101, 50m2, Paper Lives, Ethos, Rise of Empires: Ottoman, The Gift, Have You Ever Seen Fireflies?, Last Summer, One-Way to Tomorrow, Stuck Apart, Leyla Everlasting are among the Netflix productions that gathered success in Turkey as well as many other countries. There is a special category, “Turkish Movies & TV”, on Netflix.