« Winning hearts and minds through soft power: the case of Turkish soap operas in the Middle East », in Media in the Middle East
This book chapter analyses Turkey’s soft power in the Middle East through its export of soap operas to the region. It focuses on the rationale behind Turkey’s shift from the use of hard power to the use of “soft power” in the Middle East. In particular, the author examines the key elements of the “strategic depth” theory, or the so-called Davutoğlu doctrine, and shows how a new vision for Turkey’s international role and cultural attractiveness underlies Turkey’s soft power in the region. The paper then examines one tool used to project Turkey’s soft power in the Middle East: the export of soap operas (diziler). Lastly, the author assesses the impact of Turkish soap operas in the Middle East; it argues that while soap operas have won the hearts and minds of Arab populations, they have nevertheless failed to increase Turkey’s actual power capacity in the region.