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HomeGeopolitical CompassWest & Centeral AsiaTurkish Dramas’ Impact on Tourism, Skilled Immigration and Foreign Direct Investment

Turkish Dramas’ Impact on Tourism, Skilled Immigration and Foreign Direct Investment

Author: Ravale Mohydin

Affiliation: TRT World Research Centre

Organization/Publisher: TRT World Research Centre

Date/Place: March 2, 2022/ Istanbul, Türkiye

Type of Literature: Report

Number of Pages: 17



Keywords: Türkiye, Drama, Soft Power, Dirilis Ertugrul, Tourism, Investment, Immigration




Reviving centuries old culture and traditions through a drama series is never an easy task, but Türkiye has made unprecedented gains in this area which has helped propel its influence in at least 160 countries – with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan having been the first foreign stop-over for Turkish dramas in the mid-2000s. Diriliş Ertuğrul or Resurrection Ertugrul is a household name across not only Muslim geographies but from Latin America to Africa to far off Pacific islands. The Urdu version of the million-dollar project is leading in viewership across South Asia. This paper looks at how entertainment products “further public diplomacy and place branding efforts and how they could potentially translate into increased tourism, skilled immigration, and foreign direct investment.” Additionally, it has also furthered Türkiye’s Soft Power “ability to influence other countries” behavior or “the ability to shape what others want” without using hard or coercive power. Drama series of various kinds have propelled Türkiye’s image across Muslim nations with people commenting positively about its people in the Arab world. As a case study, the researcher studies Pakistan, where Resurrection Ertugrul has seen popularity rise in heaps and bounds, such that Pakistan has had more viewers of the show than among even Turks themselves. “Gender, relating to characters in Turkish drama series, and knowledge of Turkish culture were significantly positively associated with intent to travel to Türkiye for work, education and pleasure and investing in Türkiye,” the study finds. As the drama series has triggered interest in knowing more about Türkiye, this study finds that those who had watched a Turkish drama series were 1.58 times more likely to report “feeling more knowledgeable about Türkiye than those who did not.” Those who moved to Türkiye after watching the drama series claim their personal and professional lives “changed.” However, the popularity of Turkish soap opera in non-Turkic Muslim nations has also invited criticism, with Egypt’s Dar Al-Iftaa, which issues religious edicts, having issued a ‘fatwa’ where it accused Türkiye of “trying to create an ‘area of influence’ for itself in the Middle East using its soft power.” However, the researcher concludes that drama series offer “an opportunity to connect and dream.”


By: Riyaz ul Khaliq, CIGA Non-resident Research Associate



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