Samanyolu TV is an international TV station, with its headquarters in Istanbul.
Samanyolu TV was previously owned by Yayıncılık A.Ş. Yayıncılık A.Ş. is a media company that operates radio and television broadcasting, publication and distribution of newspapers. The first satellite service for Samanyolu TV was aired towards Central Asia. Samanyolu TV proceeded into North America by 1999, with Turksat as its new mainstream satellite operator. Samanyolu TV has later created two official websites for Turkish origins of both, North American audiences, and Turkish audiences . These two websites also include online streaming (“CANLI YAYIN”) and social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
Samanyolu TV in English is translated as Milky-Way. It is generally assumed that Milky-Way has a religious connotation. In essence “Milky-Way” pedals the notion of a “other” universe aside from the present world. One may see that the title of the television station plays an important role for the list of programs it airs for its audiences. Samanyolu TV contains several programs that pertains heavy emphasis on culture, politics, and utmost religion. Samanyolu TV is funded by many individuals and companies. But the most constructive contribution is led by Fethullah Gülen. Gülen is a well-known Turkish Muslim preacher, scholar and author. Gülen is currently living in exile in the United States, due to the formation of the Gülen Movement which has had much controversy and criticism in Turkey. For more information regarding this movement refer to Yavuz M. Hakan Turkish Islam and the Secular State. That being said, Samanyolu TV programs contain controversial contents with relation to Islamic teachings upon cultural norms. It is both seen as negatively and/or positively for some audiences. One from the many examples that implements religious content, is the television series Kucuk Kiyamet – Little Apocalypse.
It is not only “Gülen” that is controversial, but Samanyolu TV contains nationalistic programs. For instance, the current popular show Şefkat Tepe—Compassion Peak filled with action and drama. This show depicts a commander by the name of Serdar (Mert Kiliç) and his fellow soldiers, or better known as Sungurlar Timi—Sungurlar Team. This team is there to stop a growing terrorist organization around the borders of south eastern regions of Turkey. The citizens living in that region are often affected by these organizations such as being kidnapped and used as soldiers. (The word Sungurlar is from a village in the Bolu Province of Turkey) The terrorist organizations that are built upon these regions, believe that they own those territories, while also aiming to bring down the national Turkish State. Şefkat Tepe brings a close-view of real life events that occur within these regions. Audiences must also remember that Şefkat Tepe gives a one-sided story without implementing the “other” side. How are we to say that the organizations within that region are terrorists? It is evident that this show presents distinctions between ethnic groups based in Turkey.
Samanyolu TV has two folds regarding commercials, for local viewers in Turkey they open a wide range of commercials. As for, North American audiences they limit their commercials and keep the same commercials repeatedly. For several advertisements in Samanyolu TV, television purchases are only limited to American audiences, instead of Canadian audiences.
Aside from commercials, Samanyolu TV has included a new program entitled Ebru TV. Ebru TV was made for English-speaking audiences open to any cultural background. Ebru TV is most popular for individuals residing in Canada and the United States. Samanyolu TV also has an official News program that broadcasts locally and internationally to its viewers. Samanyolu TV includes children programs that are family friendly. These children programs have also North American children channels such as Caillou. All children programs implement education. Furthermore, for audiences of all kinds, there exist cooking shows such as Yeşil Elma – Green Apple; traveling shows such as Ayna – Mirror; and, like the American discovery channel, shows such as Belgesel – Wild Times. Farklı Desenler – Different Patterns, is another popular television drama series. This show depicts a main character named Feride (Gözde Başaran) who is faced with extreme challenges in her family life. It all starts with Feride’s husband who was tricked by another women whom with bad intentions for Feride’s family. This resulted in her loss of children and her husband as well. In spite of the loss of family and love Feride must stand strong for her children. This story line provides a message to its audience about the importance of family.