Dream export— Turkey


The burgeoning soft power of the nation that straddles the East-West divide is rooted in its flourishing drama production industry, capturing hearts and minds from Pakistan to South America. Just don’t call them soap operas...

D-Productions, Gümüs, Kanal D

“If you were to ask me three years ago if it was possible to sell a Turkish drama series to South America I’d laugh at you,” says Özlem Özsümbül, head of sales and acquisitions at Istanbul’s buzzing D-Productions. “But we recently had big stands at the Mipcom and Miptv fairs in France where three big soap opera producers from South America were very interested in importing our series – some wanted to show them, others wanted to buy the formatting rights and produce them locally,” says Özsümbül, clearly more focused on sales than acquisitions of…

  • Forbidden Love (As¸k-ı Memnu)

    Adnan, who lost his wife 11 years ago, is devoted to his children. In his big mansion beside the Bosphorus, his nephew Behlül also lives with them. Adnan falls in love with Bihter, a socialite couple’s daughter, and marries her. But when Behlül and Bihter fall in love with each other, things get complicated.

  • Gönülçelen

    Murat, a successful 30-year-old musician, comes from a respected and rich family. Hasret was born and raised in one of Istanbul’s poor neighbourhoods. She makes her living by selling flowers and occasionally sings. Murat believes in her talent and offers to give her musical training.

  • Sıla

    A poor family in an eastern village give their young daughter Sıla to a rich family that lives in Istanbul. Their son Ziad falls in love with Darin, the daughter of the chief of their region. They want to run away to get married but Darin’s brother Gawdat catches them. They must be killed unless Gawdat marries Ziad’s sister. So Ziad’s father goes to Istanbul to bring Sıla back.

  • The first Turkish soap opera export was in 1997, when Deli Yürek was sold to Kazakhstan for $30 to $40 per episode.

  • Calinos Holding executes 80 per cent of the export deals for all Turkish soap operas/ dramas. Series are now sold for between $500 to $20,000 per episode.

  • Kazakhstan airs the most Turkish soap operas: 42 of them; Bulgaria airs 27, Azerbaijan 23, Macedonia 17 and the Middle East 14.

  • Noor

    Broadcast on Kanal D, between 2006 and 2007, the show aired on the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based, Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) and was shown in Syria, Lebanon, UAE, Egypt and Jordan. The finale drew 85 million viewers. Of those, more than 51 million were women over 15, more than half the total number of adult women in the entire Arab world.

  • Yaprak Dökümü

    Broadcast on Kanal D between 2006 and 2010. It was also aired in Bulgaria, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Bulgaria, 60 per cent of viewers tuned in during prime time to watch the show (around two million people).


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