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Published On: Mon, Mar 5th, 2018

Saudi-owned private broadcaster bens Turkish

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Araweelo News Network

Riyadh(ANN)-A Saudi-owned private television network has stopped showing Turkish programs and shows amid growing tensions between Ankara and some Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf region.

A spokesman for the Arab world’s largest private broadcaster, MBC, said on Monday that the decision to pull the plug came into effect at the Dubai-based group on March 2. MBC did not, however, state specifically who was behind the decision.

“There is a decision, which also apparently included several Arab television stations in several countries, including MBC, to stop broadcasting Turkish dramas,” media outlets quoted Mazen Hayek as saying.

The spokesman added that the decision included all kinds of Turkish programs, and immediately affected six shows. It was likely to hit revenues and viewership built up over more than 10 years, he noted.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Hayek said the ban also opened opportunities for program makers in Arab countries to fill the gap. “This may be an incentive for Arab producers to create high-level Arabic drama that can be a good alternative to those taken off the air.”

The network, which is controlled by Saudi businessman Walid al-Ibrahim and other Saudi investors, later indicated that at least one Turkish-made show was still scheduled. Turkish soap operas in particular are a big hit across the Middle East.

Turkey has sided with Qatar since Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Doha on June 5, accusing the kingdom of sponsoring terrorism and destabilizing the region.

The four countries have also imposed a series of economic sanctions against Doha while barring Qatari aircraft from using their airspace. Qatar’s only land border with Saudi Arabia has also been blocked as a result.

Qatar has rejected the claims while maintaining that it is paying the price for its independent foreign policy.

There has been almost no sign that Qatari authorities would bow to the demands of Saudi Arabia and its allies to restore diplomatic ties.

In November last year, a top Emirati security official called on the Saudi-led coalition attacking Yemen since 2015 to bomb the Qatari media network Al Jazeera.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE further see Turkey’s ruling AK Party, co-founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as a friend of some groups which Saudis and their regional allies oppose across the region.

The decision adds a new dimension to growing tensions between Turkey and the Saudi Arabia-UAE axis in the row over Qatar’s support for, among other things, the Muslim Brotherhood, which the Saudis and Emiratis have branded a “terrorist” organization.

Zekeriya Kursun, the president of ORDAF — a Turkish think tank specializing in research on the Middle East and Africa — told middleeasteye.net that while there were plenty of reasons behind the Saudis imposing such a ban, he believed internal politics were the chief among them.

“[Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammed Bin Salman enraged the kingdom’s clerics when he loosened the rules on cinema and concerts. This is very likely a move to pacify those clerics to an extent,” he said.

According to Kursun, the ban will help the Saudis and Emiratis show their allies that they are supporting them while also preach at home that they are battling undesirable and foreign cultural influences.

About the Author

- Arraale Mohamoud Jama Freelance Journalist and Human Rights Activist Arraale, is a 20 year experience as a professional Journalist and human rights activist Over the years, worked for the major News Papers in Somaliland as a reporter, editor and contributor. 2008 established website Araweelo News Network, he currently runs a web site based in Somaliland. who is the specializes in the investigation and reporting on issues relating to human rights, democracy, and good governance. contact: Info@araweelonews.com jaamac132@gmail.com Send an SMS or MMS to + 252 63 442 5380 WhatsApp + 252 65 910 7347.

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