The popularity of Turkish TV series is rising every day in Arabic-speaking countries, and Turkish actresses are often the main attraction in a series. Beren Saat, who plays the role of Bihter in “Aşk-ı Memnu” (Forbidden Love) and that of Fatmagül in “Fatmagül’ün suçu ne?” (What is Fatmagül’s fault?), is currently the most popular Turkish actress in the Arab world.
Beren Saat has come to represent a sort of dream woman for Arab men, said a recent article in Al Bawaba daily, based in Jordan. There are about 300 fan pages on Facebook dedicated to Saat, and approximately 800,000 people have “liked” those pages. Messages to Beren Saat on Facebook mainly consist of compliments and messages of admiration. According to the Al Bawaba article, Arab men say of Saat “she is like an angel,” and that their only dream is to find someone as “pure” as she is. They also hate the character Mustafa, Saat’s character’s fiancé on “Fatmagül’ün suçu ne?”, and post angry messages about the character on Facebook. Some say they want a daughter like Saat. Arab women, on the other hand, tend to prefer Buğra Gülsoy, another actor appearing in “Fatmagül’ün suçu ne?”, comparing him to Brad Pitt. (every next man is Brad Pitt for Arabs :/ )
Beren Saat is the Turkish person about whom the most articles are being written, according to the latest data released by the Media Tracking Center (MTM), with 4,472 articles in the media. Her popularity in the media stems mainly from her relationship with Kenan Doğulu, her boyfriend.
Doğulu is one of the most popular singers in Turkey and represented Turkey in Eurovision 2007 with his song “Shake it up Şekerim.” Doğulu and Saat have been together for a while, and their relationship is said to be very serious. Turkish dailies have written that Saat has met Doğulu’s family.
Actor Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ’s girlfriend Azra Akın was in second place on the MTM list. Akın’s popularity has risen since the couple made up last month and became the focus of marriage rumors. The rumors are still just rumors, though, and Tatlıtuğ has said: “If I were getting married tomorrow, I wouldn’t tell anyone.”
Turkish TV series are also encouraging women to undergo plastic surgery so that they can resemble Turkish actresses such as Beren Saat and Tuba Büyüküstün, according to doctors.
Dr. Zekeriya Kul, an expert in cosmetic and plastic surgery at the Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, said there was a recent and rapid increase in the interest toward plastic surgery in Arab countries.
“Formerly, our patients wanted full lips, protruding cheekbones, and very small noses as in the face anatomies of Lebanese singers Haifa Wehbe and Nancy Ajram. This phenomenon became so popular that it came to be called the ‘Lebanese singer look.’ However, in recent years, Arab women have begun to come here with photos of actresses such as Beren Saat and Tuba Büyüküstün. They wish to look like them through plastic surgery,” Kul said.
‘Turkish series introduced naturalness’
According to Kul, Arab women currently want to have a natural look. “Turkish TV series introduced the naturalness. For example, those who underwent nose remodeling operations in the past are not happy with their noses anymore; they want their tip-tilted noses to have a more natural shape. They also prefer to have more natural and thicker eyebrows just like the Turkish actresses, rather than having thin and curved ones. So, the ‘Turkish actress look’ has taken over the seat of the ‘Lebanon singer look,’” he said.