On January 8, 2018, Nova surprised by incorporating ‘Fatmagül’ into his grill, the first Turkish soap opera to be broadcast in Spain and which ended up being a revelation on the Atresmedia network. The production achieved such success among the audience, that opened the doors to Turkish productions in Spain. Nova’s bet came after multiple countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe and other areas of the world had already made clear the success of these fictions on their respective televisions.
Nefes, Yigit and Tahir, protagonists of ‘Fugitiva’
More than two years after ‘Fatmagül’ became a phenomenon, the fever for Turkish productions seems nothing ready to disappear, neither in Spain nor in the rest of the world. Divinity followed in the footsteps of Nova, adding to its grill ‘Kara Sevda (Eternal love)’, a complete success for the Mediaset network, which was followed by many others, including the famous soap opera ‘Erkenci Kus: Dreamy Bird’, starring by Can Yaman and Demet Özdemir. Two fictions that swept fans of Turkish soap operas and that the Mediaset chain decided to recover in late June 2020.
Over time, both Divinity and Nova have incorporated different Turkish productions, among which currently stand out the successes of ‘Hercai’ and ‘Fugitiva (Sen Anlat Karadeniz)’. In the case of the second, after devastating in its country of origin and in those in which the fiction starring Irem Helvacioglu and Ulas Tuna Astepe has been released, ‘Fugitiva’ has become one of the most viewed Tucumán bets in the Nova history, being the most watched broadcast of DTT practically daily. Television in Spain has added multiple Turkish soap operas since its “discovery” in 2018, but there are still many others to discover for the audience. Therefore, In FormulaTV we collect some Turkish fictions that, although they have not reached Spanish channels, have already shown their success in multiple countries around the world.
one ‘Muhtesem Yüzyil’ (‘The Sultan’)
Part of the main cast of ‘Muhtesem Yüzyil’, with actor Halit Ergenç in front
Five years after starring in the hit ‘One Thousand and One Nights’, actor Halit Ergenc returned to the forefront of a cast thanks to ‘Muhtesem Yüzyil’, a series released in 2011 that was released in other countries with titles such as ‘The Magnificent Century’ or ‘The Sultan’. The production was based on the life and rise to power of Suliman the Magnificent, sultan with the longest reign in history, and included a relationship with his favorite wife, Hürrem, a former slave who became one of the most influential women in the Ottoman Empire and who was played by Meryem Uzerli. Although it has not yet been broadcast in Spain, the series has familiar faces for the Spanish audience, like Burak Özçivit, protagonist of ‘Kara Sevda’; Vahide Perçin, the « clumsy lady » in ‘Mother’; Engin Öztürk, actor who played Selim in ‘Fatmagul’; Aras Bulut Iynemli, protagonist of ‘Içerde’; or Nebahat Çehre, actress of series like ‘Contraband love’ and prohibido Forbidden love ’.
‘Muhtesem Yüzyil’ had four seasons and, despite being rejected by the most conservative population in Turkey, managed to gather a third of the country’s audience during its broadcast. A fame that has been practically repeated in the more than seventy countries in which it has been issued until 2019, such as Chile, Italy, the United States or Argentina, becoming one of the most exported productions in Turkey. In fact, its more than evident success ended up making it the first Turkish series acquired to broadcast in Japan and was even purchased for broadcast on the Chinese state network, also being the first Turkish production, both small and big screen, in reach that country. According to the Global Agency before its broadcast in the Asian giant, ‘Muhtesem Yüzyil’ already had more than 204 million viewers worldwide, a figure that has reached over 500 million in 2019.
Cemil and Iffet, protagonists of ‘Iffet’
Known in some countries with titles like ‘Iffet, treason is priceless’ or ‘Iffet’s revenge’, ‘Iffet’ was broadcast in Turkey between 2011 and 2012 on the Star TV network. The production told the story of Iffet, a young woman who, after being raped by Cemil, a modest taxi driver whom she loves, vows to take revenge when he breaks his promise to marry her to fix things and choose to marry another woman. Deniz Çakir is the actress in charge of giving life to the protagonist, while Ibrahim Celikkol is the interpreter who plays Cemil. An actor who, in fact, may be familiar to Spanish fans of Turkish soap operas: he stars in the series ‘Love in black and white’ and, in addition, is the companion of actress Demet Özdemir in ‘Evim’, his first series after work at ‘Erkenci Kus’.
Since its release, ‘Iffet’ has been sold to countries in Europe such as Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Romania, where one was well received. In his jump to Latin America, her debut in Chile, in 2017, was a record rating with respect to her competitors, a fact that was repeated in its successful premiere in Argentina almost a year later. A trend followed by countries such as Peru, Paraguay and Panama, countries that acquired it shortly before the debut of ‘Iffet’ in Chile, adding over the years to over twenty countries conquered by fiction since 2011. One of the last was Montenegro, where the successful Turkish production premiered in 2019, after passing through other parts of the world such as Iran, Israel, Georgia or Morocco.
3 ‘Kirgin Çiçekler’ (‘Orphans’)
Part of the main cast of ‘Kirgin Çiçekler’
Known with names like ‘Orphans’ or ‘Crystal flowers’, ‘Kirgin Çiçekler’ is a 2015 Turkish soap opera that tells the story of Eylül (Biran Damla Yilmaz), a sixteen-year-old girl who ends up in an orphanage after her mother refused to believe that her stepfather was abusing her. Thanks to this radical turn in his life, Eylül ends up befriending Songül (Gökçe Akyildiz), Kader (Cagla Irmak) and Meral (Aleyna Solaker); girls who, like her, have no family. Together, they star in a drama that shows how all of them, with the support of Feride (Ipek Karapiner), deputy director of the center, they struggle to find their place in the world as they face the difficulties of being orphans. In addition, it includes in its cast faces known to Spanish fans, such as actress Gökçe Akyildiz, Zeynep in z Medcezir ’; or the interpreters Sacide Tasaner and Esra Dermancioglu, Halide and Mukkades in ‘Fatmagül’.
The success of ‘Kirgin Çiçekler’ was not only evident in her home country, where she was nominated for Best Television Series at the Turkey Youth Awards in 2016 and 2017, the year in which she was also nominated in the Best Director, Best Supporting actor for the work of Arif Diren and Best Supporting Actress for Gökçe Akyildiz. On his successful journey, the series was also nominated for Best Drama Series at the Seoul International Drama Awards. Two “small” reflections of its growing success and its subsequent international expansion, which in 2017 had already reached countries such as Moldova, Uruguay, Peru and Iran, in addition to being acquired by Netflix Turkey. A list that has been growing over the years, with broadcasts in Sri Lanka, Lithuania and Albania, where it had great success, as in other Latin American countries like Chile, Mexico and Argentina. In fact, in the latter it concluded in early June 2020, after having made double daily broadcasts that did not reduce its important rating compared to its competitors.
4 ‘Muhtesem Yüzyil: Kösem’ (‘The sultana’)
Beren Saat, one of the leading actresses of ‘Muhtesem Yüzyil: Kösem’ with Ekin Koç
Four years after ‘Muhtesem Yüzyil’ was released in 2011, its sequel, ‘Muhtesem Yüzyil: Kösem’, debuted on the Turkish network Star TV., which started at the beginning of the reign of the great-great-grandson of Suleiman, Ahmed I. However, the production focuses on the figure of the sultana Kösem, a slave who ended up becoming one of the most powerful women in the Ottoman Empire after being captured and handed over to Ahmed I, whom she ends up falling in love with, as a « gift ».
Thus, the series makes a journey through the different stages of the life of one of the most powerful women of the 17th century, who reigned for forty years. A story collected over two seasons, in which the leading role was played by three actresses: Anastasia Tsilimpiou and Beren Saat (protagonist of ‘Fatmagül’ and ‘Forbidden love’), who played Kösem during his youth and adulthood in the first season; and Nurgül Yesilçay, who gave life to the sultana in the second season, during the last years of his life.
Historical fiction followed in the wake of its predecessor’s success, reaching more than thirty countries around the world, including the United States, where Telemundo was the chain in charge of bringing Turkish production closer to the North American public in October 2018. In fact, under the title ‘La sultana’, this production was the first Turkish soap opera to be broadcast during prime time. the American chain, where unfortunately it did not stand out in audience data, so the second season was not broadcast. However, the United States was an exception, given that ‘Muhtesem Yüzyil: Kösem’ has successfully conquered most countries in which it has been broadcast, regardless of the continent, as has happened in Mexico, Argentina, Panama, Greece (where, in fact, some scenes from its first season were recorded), Algeria, Ukraine, Indonesia, Egypt or Bulgaria.
5 ‘Vatanim Sensin’ (‘My homeland is you’)
Bergüzar Korel and Halit Ergenç as Azize and Cevdet, protagonists of ‘Vatanim Sensin’
After the overwhelming success of the actors Halit Ergenç and Bergüzar Korel as protagonists of ‘The Arabian Nights, the couple returned to work as the cast heads of‘ Vatanim Sensin ’ (translated as ‘My homeland is you’) in 2016. On this occasion, both traveled to the past, specifically to the years that elapsed between the First Balkan War (1912-1913) and the Greek-Turkish War (1919-1922), to give life to Cevdet, a soldier of the Ottoman army of Thessalonica, and his wife Azize, a nurse, protagonists of a love story that has also managed to conquer the audience. After being betrayed by a friend, Cevdet ends up spending eight years in the hands of the enemies, time that the traitor takes to approach Azize after convincing her and the rest of her family that Cevdet is dead.
Cevdet’s story is based on the life of soldier Mustafa Mümin Aksoy and, with his two seasons, has managed to cross borders of multiple countries to conquer its audiences, with translated titles like é I’ll love you forever ’in its broadcast in Peru and Paraguay; ‘My life is you’, in Uruguay and Argentina; or ‘You are my life’, in Chile. Different translations that have not changed the impact that this series has achieved, since its origins, when it won the awards for Best Screenwriter for Nuran Evren Sit and for Best Television Series at the 2017 Pantene Golden Butterfly Awards, after being nominated in various categories both in that edition and in that of 2018. That same year, the leading actors were the winners in their respective categories at the Beirut International Film Festival, after the series had already been sold to more than fifty countries after its first year of release. In Chile, for example, where ‘The Thousand and One Nights’ managed to destroy and open the doors of Latin America to Turkish productions, ‘You are my life’ landed in March 2020, after being successfully broadcast in neighboring countries such as Uruguay, Argentina and Mexico.
6 ‘Istanbullu Gelin’ (‘The Bride of Istanbul’)
Süreyya and Faruk, protagonists of ‘Istanbullu Gelin’
In 2017, Star TV premiered the ‘Istanbullu Gelin’ series (translated as novia The Istanbul Bride ’), starring Özan Deniz and Asli Enver in the roles of Faruk, a wealthy businessman strongly connected to family and traditions, and Süreyya, a freedom-loving woman who grew up without parents. Two very different people who, after falling in love in Istanbul, married and moved to the family home in Faruk, where Süreyya will have to deal, among other things, with her mother-in-law, a woman who barely leaves the house and who is used to driving your family at pleasure. A story with romance as the axis that, it has among its cast with interpreters already known to the Spanish public, such as Ebru Sahin, protagonist of ‘Hercai’; or Tamer Levent, who was Tahsin Korludag in ‘Sühan: Revenge and love’.
In just one year since its premiere in Turkey, ‘Istanbullu Gelin’ managed to reach up to fifteen countries worldwide, such as Albania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Georgia or Kazakhstan; before making the leap to Latin America through Mexico and Costa Rica. Back in 2017, actress Asli Enver won the Best Actress award at the Pantene Golden Butterfly in Turkey, and a year later, the success of the production led her to be nominated for Best soap opera at the International Emmy Awards, among other awards. Small conquests that were reflected in the good data that ‘Istanbullu Gelin’ has been obtaining in the more than twenty countries it has reached, as happened in Romania, the country in which the series broke rating records, well above its rivals in your same time slot; or in Israel, where the media described the fanaticism for the series as « hysteria » and there were even cases of Israeli fans traveling to Turkey for the sole purpose of taking a photo with their idols.
7 ‘Bir Zamanlar Çukurova’ (‘Bitter Earth’)
Züleyha, Hünkar and Demir in ‘Bir Zamanlar Çukurova’
Series released in 2018, ‘Bir Zamanlar Çukurova’ tells the love story between Yilmaz (Vahide Perçin) and Züleyha (Hilal Altinbilek), two people willing to do anything to defend the person they love, to the point of pretending that they are brothers in order to flee together from Istanbul. A career that leads them to a farm, where the couple will have to deal with the love that Hünkar (Vahide Perçin), the owner of the farm, ends up feeling for Züleyha. However, although this story is the main axis, the series has multiple stories starring different characters, where one of the main challenges was to recreate the Turkey of the 70s, the framework of the stories collected in this production, and which has in its cast actors already known to the Spanish audience, like Vahide Perçin, from ‘Madre’ and ‘El secreto de Feriha’; Esra Dermancioglu, from ‘Fatmagül’; or Kerem Alisik, Ayhan in ‘Kara Sevda’.
Although in Turkey, At the end of June, the broadcast of new episodes of ‘Bir Zamanlar Çukurova’ has been interrupted Due to the stoppage of filming due to the Covid-19 crisis, the series has already been sold to more than thirty countries around the world, fifteen of them in Latin America. Among them is Mexico, where the Imagen Televisión chain premiered the production in early February 2020; and Chile, the first Latin American country in which it debuted with great success, at the end of 2019, under the title of ‘Züleyha’. Two signings followed by other countries such as Puerto Rico, Colombia, Guatemala and Honduras, after garnering up to thirteen nominations at the Turkey Youth Awards (where Selin Yeninci won the award for Best Supporting Actress), the Golden Palm Awards and the Pantene Golden Butterfly from Turkey, as well as was nominated for Best Drama Series at the Seoul International Drama Awards.
8 ‘Kizim’ (‘Daughter’)
Actors Bugra Gülsoy and Beren Gokyildiz as Demir and Öykü in ‘Kizim’
Inspired by the Korean drama ‘Oh My Geum Bi’, ‘Kizim’ is a series that premiered in Turkey in 2018 and it is starring two well-known actors not only in Spain, but internationally: Bugra Gülsoy, who gave life to Vural in ‘Fatmagül ‘and starred in‘ Kuzey Güney ’; and the little Beren Gökyildiz, who has conquered the audience of multiple countries around the world thanks mainly to her work as a protagonist in ‘Madre’.
Both play the roles of Demir, a swindler with a chaotic life, and Öykü, a girl who has to go looking for her father after her aunt leaves her to discover the strange disease that suffers and affects her memory. Öykü’s appearance in Demir’s life will not only free him from prison for scam to take care of her, but A close and sincere parent-child relationship will begin to grow between them., even against Demir’s initial wishes, with which the chemistry between the two actors has been conquering different countries, in a way that ends up involving more people.
With its premiere in Latin American countries, ‘Kizim’ has become known with titles such as ‘Daughter’, ‘And who are you?’, ‘Don’t forget me’, ‘Everything for my daughter’ or ‘My cute girl’ and It has been bought by more than twenty countries around the world since its release. An expansion that has turned it into a global sales phenomenon, achieving successful audience figures in places that love Turkish productions such as Panama, Chile, Puerto Rico (where it already led in its debut) or Argentina, where after opening in March 2020, it has become the second most watched on Telefé and brings together millions of Argentines, to the point of the chain even chose to issue a morning summary from mid-June.
9 ‘Yarali Kuslar’ (‘Omer, stolen dreams’)
Meryem and Efe in ‘Yarali Kuslar’
At the end of November 2019, Kanal D premiered Turquía Yarali Kuslar ’in Turkey, a fiction that tells the story of Meryem (Gizem Arikan), a young woman who has been taking care of her adoptive brother Ömer (Emre Mete Sönmez) since her teens, continuing to work to get the little one off the streets. The boy was stolen by Meryem’s father as a baby, but his subsequent sale was thwarted when his kidnapper ended up in jail. The luck of both will want that, with their transfer to Istanbul, their paths cross with Levent (Ali Yasin Özegemen), a wealthy businessman who turns out to be the biological father of Ömer, whom he has not stopped looking for.
The production, created by Inci Gülen, responsible for the successful ‘Elif’, broadcast in Spain by Nova, has another link with that long Turkish series: the actor Hasan Balliktas, Elif’s abusive stepfather, plays the father of the protagonist and responsible for the kidnapping of Ömer. In fact, ‘Yarali Kuslar’ has been considered a worthy successor to ‘Elif’, which is why it has added many countries that bet on it despite having been on the air in their country of origin for a short time. Above all, taking into account what happened in Colombia, where fiction landed in February 2020 through Caracol and became the most viewed issue in its first week, reaching up to 30% share. A success that, little by little, ‘Yarali Kuslar’ has been adding in other places in the world such as Puerto Rico and Bosnia, who have been among the first countries to bet on it.
10 ‘Kurulus: Osman’
Actors Nurettin Sönmez, Burak Özçivit and Seda Yildiz in ‘Kurulus: Osman’
The success that ‘Kara Sevda’ reaped internationally influenced especially its leading actors, Burak Özçivit and Neslihan Atagül, who triumphed among fans of Turkish productions. So it is no surprise that Ulus Kurulus: Osman ’will spark worldwide interest with the signing of Özçivit as the protagonist, Osman I, in what was his first series after working on ‘Kara Sevda’. Added to this was the fact that this new bet by the actor was a sequel to ‘Dirilis Ertugrul’ (2014), one of the most successful fictions in the country in recent years whose main character was Ertugrul (Engin Altan Düzyatan), father of Osman.
The signing of Özçivit generated great expectation when it was unveiled in August 2019, which was joined by overwhelming success of ‘Kurulus: Osman’ in its premiere, in November of the same year, being the best debut in the history of Turkish television reaching 15.73% share and gathering more than twelve million viewers. A figure that added three million more viewers when it was chosen to repeat the broadcast of the pilot episode of a series that tells of the conflicts of Osman I, founder of the Ottoman empire, with Byzantium and the Mongols, to end up establishing a sovereign state. However, its broadcast was interrupted at the end of March 2020, due to the stoppage of filming by Covid-19, and did not recover until almost a month later.
With such an overwhelming premiere and the previous success of ‘Dirilis Ertugrul’, which reached up to sixty countries around the world, it is not surprising that its sequel follows the same steps, given that ‘Kurulus: Osman’ had already been sold to many countries before its premiere, such as Somalia, Pakistan, Albania or Afghanistan. And even more, when both soap operas have managed to conquer even the queen of Malaysia, Azizah Aminah, who confessed how much she liked them. Even Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro admitted not only that he was watching the fiction about Ertugrul, but that he had also visited the set of the series.