A Turkish government minister has lashed out at a decision by Saudi-owned broadcaster MBC to stop airing Turkish soap operas, the state-run news agency Anadolu reported, amid ongoing tensions between Ankara and some Gulf Arab states.
MBC announced the move on Tuesday, saying it would replace Turkish soaps – which have long been a hit across the Middle East – with “premium quality Arabic dramas that embody the values and traditions of the region.”
The decision comes against a backdrop of political tension between the countries, with Saudi Arabia and ally the United Arab Emirates accusing Turkey of supporting Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkey, for its part, has backed Qatar in Doha’s long-running rift with Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Responding to MBC’s decision late on Tuesday, Turkish culture minister Numan Kurtulmus was quoted by the news agency as saying that it was not up to politicians to “decide… who watches what film. Those times have passed.”