Turkish TV Inspires Murder, Clerics Blame 'West'

A Yemeni man has been executed after murdering four men and a woman in an effort to imitate a Turkish soap opera.

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Turkish funeral
Turkish funeral

A Yemeni man has been executed after murdering four men and a woman in an effort to imitate a Turkish soap opera, Al-Arabiya reported.

Mohamed al-Ali al-Azab, 31, confessed to his crime prior to his execution, saying he was inspired by the popular Turkish TV series “Kurtlar Vadisi (The Valley of the Wolves).

The incident began with a dispute between al-Azab and an unidentified man in Yemen's Dawran and resulted in the killing of five people, including the unidentified man's mother. 

After much resistance, Azab ran out of ammunition and was forced to surrender. He was then sentenced to death in a tribal trial.

The sentence was designed to prevent the start of a vendetta that could have claimed more lives, according to the tribal elders.

Tribal executions are common in Dhamar, where people rarely resort to state courts, the report said. 

“The Valley of the Wolves” was also behind a family crisis in the Red Sea city of al- Hudaydah, when a 20-year-old wife asked her husband for a divorce because she was not allowed to wear jeans and did not appear as elegant as the lead character of the soap opera. The mediation of relatives eventually prevented the separation, according to Al-Arabiya.

Sociologist Khaled Modhesh alleged that the problem with Turkish soap operas is that they reflect a culture that is, to a great extent, influenced by the West.

“These soap operas introduce to conservative Yemenis a set of social values that are alien to their religious beliefs and social norms and this constitutes a grave threat to their identity,” he told the news outlet.

Sheikh Mohamed Salem claimed that Turkish TV shows can easily spread corruption because of the similarities with Arab cultures.

“Turkey is in many aspects close to the Arab world and this makes Arabs attracted to its traditions while not realizing that they are heavily affected by the West and therefore destroy the ethics of the youth.”

Salem noted that unlike Yemeni society, Turkish drama is very daring is tackling a lot of sensitive issues. 

“They are too liberal in the topics they discuss and the way they discuss them,” he said.