ISTANBUL, July 21, 2014 (AFP) – Turkey’s state television channel stopped broadcasting an ambitious TV drama series about the country’s spy agency following warnings from police about a possible jihadist threat, local media reported on Monday.
TRT stopped airing the “Kizilelma” (“The Red Apple”) just three weeks after Turkish national police urged the company to take measures against the threats the drama could pose by drawing the wrath of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants, the Milliyet daily reported on its website.
In a memo titled “hostility toward ISIL in Turkish dramas” and dated April 28, the police said ISIL militants were represented in Kizilelma as a gang slaughtering and terrorising people and were being “humiliated”, according to Milliyet.
The show, which made its debut in January amid great fanfare and chronicled the missions of a Turkish spy agency in Syria, Iran, Iraq, was taken off air in May with the official reason “low ratings”.
It came three weeks before ISIL militants stormed Turkey’s consulate in Mosul and abducted 49 Turkish citizens as they captured swathes of northern Iraq.
The show had also came under fire for making discriminatory remarks about the country’s minority Alevi community, which follows a moderate form of Islam.
Osman Sinav, who also directed Turkish hit action series “Kurtlar Vadisi” (“Valley of the Wolves”), said in a May interview that the show reflected Turkey’s ambitions to become a regional leader.
“In this region, there is a conflict between spy agencies. Turkey is now a country with aims and objectives. Turkey will position itself in line with these aims,” he said.
Turkey, which backs the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, has repeatedly denied allegations that it is shipping arms to rebels or backing Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria.
Ankara’s alarm has reached new heights after ISIL, which has changed its name to Islamic State and which Turkey included on its list of terrorist organisations in June, declared a “caliphate” straddling Turkey’s neighbours Iraq and Syria.