Magazine article Variety

Censors Boost Turkish Cop's Profile

Magazine article Variety

Censors Boost Turkish Cop's Profile

Article excerpt

Turkish censors got a lesson in the rule that any publicity is good publicity when politicians who recently tried to reign in popular police drama "Behzat C" instead wound up likely boosting the show's image.

"Behzat," which airs on private channel Star TV, follows the title character, a tough police chief working in Turkeys capital city, Ankara, who drinks, smokes and is often portrayed as being brutal with suspects - traits that make conservative politicians uneasy.

Some pois began criticizing the show, with one claiming it "put dynamite in the foundations of the Turkish family'' for portraying an unwed couple living together.

Despite public apathy over the issue, Turkey's Interior Minister Idris Nairn Sahin and Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arine kept up the pressure, and the Supreme Council on Radio and Television, Turkey's de-facto censorship board launched an investigation.

The show's producers, in an apparent attempt to placate censors, had Behzat marry his long-time partner in April, while the investigation was ongoing. But when the June 7 verdict came down, the show was fined for its potential to "hamper the physical, mental, and moral development of young people" based on its glorification of substance abuse.

One week later, the series was included in the Supreme Council's list of programs that encourage violence, but was still allowed to air.

All the publicity has generated interest in the show. In May, thousands of fans met in Ankara's central square to watch a projection of the latest episode, and recent figures by media monitor SMG suggest that more were there in spirit; "Behzat C" was the runaway leader in social media reach among Turkish TV shows for March and April. …

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