Turkey's Arabic-language television channel TRT al Turkiye will launch Sunday (updated again).
Posted: 10 Apr 2010
"Turkey's state-run Radio and Television Corporation, or TRT, launched a new Arabic-language channel Sunday, a move that the country's prime minister hailed as a landmark uniting the Turkish and Arab people. 'TRT al Turkiye' will broadcast in Arabic around the clock and is expected to reach 350 million people throughout the Arab world. Most of the programs will be presented by native Arabic speakers. ... 'The Istanbul-based channel will also broadcast live from Cairo, Beirut, Damascus and Ankara.' ... Three satellite companies — Turksat 3A, Arapsat and Nilsat — will provide transmissions for TRT al Turkiye." Anatolia News Agency via Hürriyet Daily News, 5 April 2010.
"TRT Arabic will feature a morning schedule tailored toward Arabic women as well as children’s programming, documentaries, current affairs and Turkish dramas dubbed into Arabic. The station will look to capitalise on the recent popularity of Turkish soaps screened by MBC such as Nour and Aliye, which have dominated free to air ratings in the region." Digital Production Middle East, 5 April 2010.
"Every time a foreign satellite channel steps into the crowded world of Arabic television, we are always tempted to overestimate its effects on public opinion in the region. But a new Turkish initiative may finally live up to expectations. It all started in 2004 with the American Al Hurra channel, followed by a spate of foreign Arabic television broadcasts from countries like Iran, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Russia and most recently China. But a few months into operations, they all realised how frustrating it is to make the slightest dent in the deep-running cynicism in the Middle East. ... For Al Turkeya to establish a credible presence in this region, it needs to go beyond emotional appeals to history and faith and demonstrate the highest level of professionalism in its news, cultural and entertainment programming." Muhammad Ayish, The National (Abu Dhabi), 6 April 2010.
"'Turkey now wants to be an actor in the Middle East. (TRT El Turkiye) is one element of this policy' of re-balancing Turkish diplomacy which for years followed an exclusively Western-oriented path, said Mete Cubukcu, an editor at the NTV news channel and an expert on the Arab world. This drive, coupled with [Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan's strong criticism of Israel in the Palestinian conflict, gives Turkey 'a lot of prestige' in the Middle East, which could prove useful to the new channel, Cubukcu said. But to find itself a place in the Arab market, TRT El Turkiye should be careful not to become a tool for propaganda, stressed the expert. 'There are already many international channels in Arabic. If this one wants to find its place, it has to offer objective information,' he added." AFP, 7 April 2010.
Update: "Even the launch of BBC Arabic two years ago seems dull in comparison to the attention received by the launch of the official Turkish channel TRT al Turkiye. This is also despite the fact that the official Turkish channel seems to be the most modest in terms of production and coverage in comparison to the other Arabic-language channels. ... Of course it is very early to evaluate this channel, but it is clear that TRT al Turkiye is not like any other channel, as it is not a news channel, and it only has a limited crew with a small network of correspondents. This is a general channel that will include a mixture of programming, from drama, the arts, news, and the economy. This is a mixture of programming that will allow the Turks to proudly present Erdogan's harsh attitude towards Israel and broadcast their famous drama Noor, and its star Mohanned who is famous throughout the Arab world, rather than through Arab channels, thereby making large political and financial gains. ... Turkey should ... not allow its new alignment with us to blind its media to the major problems that our countries are suffering from." Diana Mukkaled, Asharq Al-Awsat (London), 9 April 2010. Re "financial gains," TRT can monetize Noor and other entertainment products only by selling advertising to accompany those programs. Profit might be more certain by continuing to sell those programs to Arab television stations.
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