By Hossam Badawi
Since they first appeared in Sudan in 2008, Turkish television dramas have become increasingly popular among Sudanese viewers.
Anadolu Agency spoke to several Sudanese young people who explained why Turkish soap operas -- which are dubbed into Arabic -- had become so popular.
Ahmed Osama, a student at Khartoum’s Sudan University, said his passion for Turkish television dramas stemmed from his desire to learn the Turkish language.
"I have been watching Turkish soap operas for a long time, both for entertainment and for academic reasons," he said.
Ahmed partially attributes the recent improvement in Turkey-Sudan relations to the burgeoning popularity of Turkish television dramas among Sudanese viewers.
For Sara Sadeeq, a recent university graduate, her love of Turkish television dramas is driven largely by her passion for cooking and love of foreign cuisine.
"I'm currently watching the Turkish series ‘Small Crimes’, which came out last year,” she said. "I love to cook, so when I follow a Turkish TV series, my focus is on the many kinds of food that is shown."
Sadeeq does not hide her laughter when she declares her love for "simit", a traditional round bread topped by sesame seeds -- a staple part of any Turkish breakfast.
"Through Turkish TV dramas, I’m also familiar with Adana Kebabi [a hand-minced meat kebab]," she said. "Someday I hope to visit Adana [a city in southern Turkey] and taste it myself."
"I’m also now familiar with Turkey’s most famous tourist destinations, such as Izmir, Afyon, Adana, Bodrum and -- of course -- Istanbul,” she added. "All of which I hope to visit someday."
Haram Ahmed, a Turkish language student at the Yunus Emre Institute in Khartoum, is currently following the Turkish TV series "Fallen Leaves", produced in 2005.
She especially enjoys the show for its portrayals of Turkish architecture and interior design.
"Now I’m familiar with many sophisticated interior designs and architectural motifs," Ahmed said.
- 'Different perspective'
Musa Hamed, a Sudanese journalist and culture expert, told Anadolu Agency that Sudanese people are generally used to a “certain type” of television drama.
"Turkish soap operas, by contrast, give Sudanese viewers a different perspective from what is generally seen in TV dramas from Egypt, Syria or the Arab Gulf," Hamad said.
He believes television dramas are largely reflections of the societies in which they are produced.
"Turkish soap operas, for example, reflect Turkey’s modern and progressive society," Musa said. "This is one of the main reasons Sudanese viewers enjoy them so much."