Erdogan condemns hit Turkish TV drama

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has given the thumbs down to a hit Turkish television series, the “Magnificent Century,” which has riled Turkish conservatives with its steamy depiction of the decadent Ottoman reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, the Wall Street Journal’s Emre Peker reports:

The show chronicles the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, whose 46-year rule which ended 1566, is seen as the pinnacle of the Ottoman Empire. Attracting a third of the prime-time audience every night it’s on air, and broadcasting to 150 million people in 22 countries from the Czech Republic to Japan, the series is a sure hit for Tims Productions–the Istanbul-based firm behind some of the most successful series and movies in the past decade.

But the decadent representation of Suleiman’s life, hinting that the sultan known as ‘the Lawgiver’ was given to alcohol and promiscuity, also drew widespread criticism from conservatives. […]

In a rhetorical flourish that rallied his supporters but baffled many commentators, the prime minister then meshed his defense of government policy with a salvo against the “Magnificent Century,” arguing for active international engagement by deriding the limited scope of the opposition’s stance and the show’s limited focus the luxuries of the palace.

“That’s not the Sultan Suleiman we know, that’s not the Lawgiver we know, 30 years of his life was spent on horseback, not in a palace like you see in TV shows,” Mr. Erdogan told a cheering crowd of thousands at an airport opening ceremony in the western province of Kutahya on Sunday. Continue reading

Eutelsat pulls plug on Iran state media


The Iranian government has frequently jammed international satellite broadcasts of western media into the country, most recently blocking BBC and VOA Persian broadcasts of currency protests in Tehran.

But on Monday, it was not the Iranian government but European satellite provider, EutelSat, which claimed responsibility for 19 Iranian state-run television and radio stations abruptly going dark.

“Viewers in the Middle East, Iran’s main cornerstone of influence, and Europe as well as those inside Iran who accessed the channels through the popular Hotbird satellite no longer have access to the channels,” the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday:

Eutelsat Communications said it stopped broadcasting the Iranian channels in light of European sanctions approved in March and a French regulatory decision. …

Though Eutelsat’s decision to remove Iran’s government-owned channels isn’t related to the nuclear standoff, the move serves to isolate the Islamist Republic further. Continue reading

As “Homeland” films in Israel, cast member Mandy Patinkin speaks to Peace Now activists

The cast of TV thriller “Homeland” arrived this week in Israel where part of the second season will be filmed. The Showtime series is based on an originally Israeli drama called Prisoners of War. It stars Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, a bipolar CIA officer who believes a Marine war hero held hostage by al Qaeda has been turned by the group. Actor Mandy Patinkin plays Saul Berenson, Carrie’s long suffering CIA boss, who gets her intelligence but is running out of options to cover for her increasing instability.

Patinkin, in real life, is also, for the past decade, a member of the board of the peace group, Americans for Peace Now. APN’s Ori Nir sends this photo of Patinkin in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan Friday, before he spoke to a crowd of a few hundred progressive peace activists. Nir writes: Continue reading