Turkish television goes global: National productions, transnational audiences


Although it has been less than two decades since Turkish TV exports first met transnational audiences, they have already enjoyed unprecedented global success with no signs of slowing. The worldwide distribution of Turkish TV series, the expansion of national format trade, the increase in transnational co-productions, the global ties of private and public broadcasting institutions, and the recent changes in the political economic structure of neoliberal Turkey have transformed a national industry into a transnational TV market. As the relationship between the national and transnational has become increasingly complicated, which was further exacerbated by the rise of new platforms and digital television, the case of Turkish television illustrates the intricate and complex role that emerging industries play in global television flows. By situating Turkish television within the contemporary global developments of international TV markets and its own national sociopolitical, economic and cultural dynamics, this paper will explore both the ripple effects of emerging industries’ entrance into global markets and the political implications in the domestic realm of its transformation into a global growth industry. We will also offer a brief overview of the sociopolitical, cultural and economic struggles surrounding TV production, distribution and reception in Turkey since the beginning of TV broadcasting. The changing dynamics of the cultural and political economy of Turkey’s television industry, including its structural and ideological transformation, the transnational aspirations of Turkish media, and the implications of its transnationalization will be discussed via examples that indicate key turning points in its history.