Turkey's 'Invasion' of Bulgaria

Novinite Insider » EDITORIAL | Author: Valeriya Krasteva |January 20, 2011, Thursday // 21:32| Views: | Comments: 19
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Bulgaria: Turkey's 'Invasion' of Bulgaria

At the beginning, there was Isaura. After the fall of the Communist regime in Bulgaria, local TV channels started airing the Brazilian soap opera “Escrava Isaura” (Slave Isaura). It became an instant hit and shortly various Latin American soaps occupied a regular prime-time. In several years, Bulgaria was flooded, to say the least, with different versions of Isaura, Casandra, Juan Carlos, etc.

And just as Bulgarians started to get used to the Latinos, “Binbir Gece” appeared on Bulgarian private channel Nova TV, followed shortly after by “Gumus”, which aired on the TV channel bTV. Both series triggered not a wave, but rather a tsunami of Turkish soap operas in the country.

All of the Turkey-produced series focus on simple, everyday topics like tangled love affairs, heartache, and betrayal.

A frequent topic is also the poor but talented young woman who falls in love with her boss. Unlike Latin American soap operas, however, family and respect for the elderly is one of the major topics in the Turkish soaps, and this is believed to be one of the reasons for the huge interest in Bulgaria.

Executives at private Bulgarian channel Nova TV believed the huge success was also due to the similarities in the social culture and lifestyle of the two countries. Led by the enormous interest, the two major private TV channels in Bulgaria started a competition on who will air more Turkish soap operas and receive higher ratings, respectively.

However, Binbir Gece and other soap operas of that kind became a major hit not only in Bulgaria, but also in other countries on the Balkans and the Middle East.

As a result, the interest in Turkey, as a tourist destination, increased significantly, especially for locations where the soap operas were filmed. Travel agencies, determined to cash in on the shows’ popularity, put aside mosques and historical places and ensured guides who provide inside scoops on the shows, cast and set.

Only in Bulgaria, the number of tourists traveling to Turkey has increased by 40%, according to data from travel agencies.

It was recently announced that Turkey sold 70 soap operas in 2010, which is a record-high number. They were sold mainly to countries from Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East.

According to Firat Gulgen, Director of the Turkish media group Kalinos Holding, which is responsible for 80% of the sales of Turkish soap operas abroad, the biggest market is the Middle East, which holds 60%. However, projects are also currently under development in Russia, Germany and Ukraine.

Even though Turkish soap operas target mainly housewives, they appear interesting to people from different age groups. The controversial topics helped to attract younger viewers as well. Taboos such as alcohol, premarital sex and abortion were tackled by the soap operas and revealed a deviation from highly conservative Turkish traditions.

The series were initially produced for Turkish audience only, but their airing abroad has helped to change the opinion about Turkish people and they served as sort of ambassadors of Turkey to the rest of the world.

For comparison, Bulgaria produced only one TV series in 2010 – “Staklen Dom” (The Glass House). It is deemed to be the most successful Bulgarian-made series so far. It is a major hit in the country and it was supposed to air on FOX Turkey.

The only trouble is that the Bulgarian government does not seem to realize the important role that such a soap opera could have on increasing the country’s popularity abroad.

Tourism is a priority, ministers say? Well, advertisements showing beaches and mountains would probably increase the tourism slightly but selling a TV series abroad would definitely have a much stronger impact, if it is interesting and worth-watching, that is.

It is time for Bulgaria to follow the example of its neighbor, stop depending on state funding (since such will be provided “when possible”, the government said) and start working on putting its own name on the map.

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» To the forumComments (19)
DrFaust - 28 Jan 2011 // 01:53:33

Stalin's Buddy,

"Dr, Goebbels,
the Book is written in the language Goethe used, but you misused.....

It's always refreshing to get another example of your unbelievable stupidity. How can a single person be so dense and retarded?

The book title you quoted was in English, and as far as I remember Goethe's book were al writtenl in German. But probably my fine irony was lost again at you.


Buddy - 27 Jan 2011 // 20:59:20

Dr, Goebbels,
the Book is written in the language Goethe used, but you misused.....

Yane - 27 Jan 2011 // 18:59:01

Isn't one of Holland's major cities ruled by a muslim mayor n in a few decades it will be an Arab country? Keep your stupid liberal ideas (phobia about ones own heritage).

Sareja - 27 Jan 2011 // 15:16:28

I like this site very much.
Camron Sareja

jan_piet - 27 Jan 2011 // 13:22:42

I am not somehow surprised to read the advices and opinions of the person who happens to live in one of the most “civilized” countries of Europe; The Netherlands.

He advises to build a wall to protect Europe/Bulgaria from the invading people and culture. In the tone of his expression, you can clearly notice how he feels himself superior with respect to the others. There is a message of confrontation and hate.

Unfortunately, this is the kind of thought which destroyed Europe in the second world war. This is the feeling which caused in the Balkans and everywhere in the world bloodshed.

Years and years the rules educated people how different and great they are and how different and inferior are the others; to make their position stronger, to misuse the sentiments of the people, to sell more weapons, etc. etc.

What is better than neighbouring countries visit each other, exchange information, get to know each other, learn their culture and language, etc. etc. What is better than peace and understanding? We do not need borders, high walls, hate and anger, weapons and destruction. Unfortunately, this is not the current trend in Europe now a days. It seems that history repeats itself without learning from the bad experiences.

JG - 26 Jan 2011 // 12:52:17

Dear Dr Faust

I do not know how your Bulgarian is but reading this it was clear to me:

Ето как самата авторка коментира забраната на романа си:

"Ако ви звучи налудничаво, смея да ви уверя, че имам пълните основания да излагам на всеослушание споменатите хипотези. След като проведох задълбочен анализ на огромно количество исторически факти и писмени източници, както древни, така и съвременни /до един те са посочени в романа/, след като извърших собствени лингвистични проучвания, аз мога с чисто сърце да застана зад всяка една хипотеза, която излагам. В романа ми няма нито едно голословно твърдение.
Може би затова някои са се уплашили? Идват им твърде силни тезите ми или робуват на вътрешна цензура? Не бяга ли от дискусията точно този, който чувства своята слабост?
Между впрочем, в по-голямата си част представените в романа твърдения относно възникването на християнството и грандиозната манипулация, извършена с него в ранните векове, не са мое откритие. Всеки, които е следил филмите на Viasat History и National Geographik по темата, може поне от обща култура да се съгласи с този факт. Всеизвестна е и връзката между Орфей и Христос в съзнанието на ранните християни, като тази връзка е била забелязана още преди стотина години. Първи за нея започват да говорят психолозите от кръга на Карл Густав Юнг.

JG - 26 Jan 2011 // 12:42:52

Thanks Buddy. Next time I am in Amsterdam I will plunder a bookstore.

Kindest regards from Holland.

sarkan - 26 Jan 2011 // 09:29:23


"... When she told me she was Bulgarian I had to look it up at the map. blah, blah and blah.....And as to Turkey. You could make quite a few movies about the Turkish occupation, making clear what this culture really is. After knowing this, people will ban Turkey as a country for holidays and understand there has to be a closed border to protect our culture."

A retard who cannot find a country in Europe on a map, is revealing us his distinguished political and cultural conception.

Forget it and go sell people electronic cigarettes as you try in your next posting. Afterall, if you cannot sell them, you may shove them into your a*s. See, either you are rich, or you get the ultimate pleasure in your life. Gosh, it's a win-win for you! lol.

DrFaust - 26 Jan 2011 // 09:13:33

"You should look for a book "Political Essays on the Balkan" written in German...."

The book is obviously written in English as I can see from the title.


Nellieherself - 26 Jan 2011 // 01:10:21


""Political Essays on the Balkan" written in German...."

When was it written? A few hundred years ago?

kostis - 25 Jan 2011 // 21:49:27

You can also search for "Balkan Ghosts" in English. Quite interesting.

RockDetente - 25 Jan 2011 // 19:22:44

@temujin2 - Bulgarians ARE White. Not like you. Period.

Buddy - 25 Jan 2011 // 18:48:48

You should look for a book "Political Essays on the Balkan" written in German....
a short but quite strong presentation of Bulgaria and its neighbours...
There youll find a lot what you would have never found any where esle---

JG - 25 Jan 2011 // 18:24:24

May the 20th it is two years ago I met my wonderful fianc? Anna in Amsterdam. When she told me she was Bulgarian I had to look it up at the map. So you can imagine that even having been to the university the knowledge of Bulgaria is a minimum in Holland.
So I started looking for news and history about Bulgaria. It is very hard to find. Searching the internet you hardly find something that is not in Bulgarian. Of course it is a good reason to learn the language. But more than Spartacus being from Bulgaria you can not find.
What I found was a very interesting book "the 13 roses" of Nicole Deniva. A fantastic book that as a film production would be at least equal to Dan Browns books. But of course it is banned.
A country which has such a rich history could make a thousand historical series. (please with English subtitles) And as to Turkey. You could make quite a few movies about the Turkish occupation, making clear what this culture really is. After knowing this, people will ban Turkey as a country for holidays and understand there has to be a closed border to protect our culture.

temujin2 - 24 Jan 2011 // 14:29:36

"Bulgarian white thrash"

correction, Bulgarian thrash.

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