THY takes prime minister's least favorite show off air
Turkish Airlines (THY) has announced that it will be removing episodes of a television series which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has publicly derided from its in-flight entertainment broadcast list.

Prime Minister Erdoğan has on many occasions expressed his dislike of the Turkish television series "Muhteşem Yüzyıl" (Magnificent Century), which is centered on life in the harem during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Süleyman, also known as Süleyman the Magnificent. However, last month, Erdoğan took a further step by calling on prosecutors to act, saying he feels the series distorts history, belittles the country's "ancestors" and should be banned.

The prime minister was heavily criticized for his intervention, which many say is anti-democratic, believing that producers and writers have the right to present their understanding of history for television shows or works of art, while others have felt the need to show their support of the prime minister's remarks.

Earlier this week, a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy proposed a bill to Parliament to make it a crime to "distort" history in television series or literary works.

THY jumped on the bandwagon on Thursday, with a THY official announcing that "Magnificent Century," which is available on the airline's in-flight entertainment system, Planet, in both English and Turkish, will no longer be shown onboard. The official said the show was initially included on the program list for December but that it will not be shown as per the airline's latest decision. "We were going to air the series 'Magnificent Century' on Planet, but the prime minister's negative views about the series led us to abandon this decision, and we won't be including it."

Erdoğan claims Süleyman the Magnificent spent most of his life on horseback, going from battleground to battleground, and criticizes the series because in the show the great sultan spends too much time in the palace with the women in his harem.

Fines against television programs that are deemed by conservatives to damage Turkish values are common in Turkey. Just last month, the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) fined the television network CNBC-e approximately TL 50,000 after it aired an episode of "The Simpsons" which showed God taking orders from the devil.

RTÜK also previously fined the crime drama, "Behzat Ç.," against which some government officials had spoken out. The drama portrays a disgruntled homicide detective who also happens to be an alcoholic. His drinking habits and cohabitation with his girlfriend, a public prosecutor, were criticized as being against the values of society. Later, the producers married off the detective and the prosecutor, only to remove her from the series later when she was shot dead by a powerful crime gang, but they denied that the marriage had anything to do with pressure from government officials or RTÜK.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-12-07 18:00:02
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