Saudi MBC channel axes Turkish TV shows

The Arab world’s largest private broadcaster, the Saudi network MBC, said on Monday it would remove all Turkish programming from all of its channels until further notice, The National newspaper said.

“There is a decision that concerns several media outlets in many Arab countries that Turkish dramas are to be taken off the air, including MBC,” the UAE-based newspaper quoted MBC Group spokesman Mazen Hayek as saying, though he declined to comment on whether the decision had come from the company itself.

Hayek said the channel had stopped broadcasting six Turkish shows as of March 2.

It is yet unclear whether other television channels are to follow suit, it said. Turkish soap operas, in particular, are a big hit across the Middle East.

Turkey's relations with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt were strained by Ankara’s support for Qatar after the Arab countries imposed sanctions on Doha last year for what they said was its support for Islamist militants.
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