The Tatlitug effect

‘Noor’ star Kivanc Tatlitug has created unprecedented craze in the Arab world with his stunning hot looks and his portrayal of doting husband in the Turkish TV serial

By Mohamad Kadry

Published: Mon 28 Jul 2008, 9:32 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:15 PM

AT 25, he has become the most sought after celebrity in the Arab world. The ironic twist? He’s Turkish.

Never before has a foreigner dominated the Middle East in the way that Kivanc Tatlitug has, attaining nothing short of rockstar status as the heartthrob Mohannad in the ultra-successful soap opera, Noor (Gumus in Turkish).

The former ‘Best Model of theWorld 2002’ was an avid basketball athlete, until his mother sent in his photos to a local talent agency. Now, the stir he is creating has grown into an all-out movement, causing a cultural shift in the Middle East landscape.

Noor, which airs on MBC, is about a woman who is married to Mohannad after he loses his true love in a tragic accident.

Mohannad is then forced to marry Noor by his family.

The series traces the hardships Noor must go through to win her husband’s heart and to prove herself on a professional level.

Dubbed into Arabic to suit a Middle Eastern audience, the series is being followed by Arab fans from around the world, proving to be a lucrative asset for satellite broadcasters. For many women, following the series without understanding the language is not a problem either. For them, there are some things that need no translation.

But Tatlitug’s popularity does not stop short of the small screen. Garnering screaming women wherever he goes, fans have fallen into a frenzy that the show has created. Lebanese singer Roula Saad, a lukewarmsuccess, has even filmed her latest music video in the mountains of Lebanon using Tatlitug as her love interest. But his presence in the video is not what has shocked the music industry.

For a whopping $120,000, Tatlitug has now become the highest paid actor to appear in a Middle Eastern music video, a fee that was reportedly non-negotiable.

But for industry executives, the money was a small price to pay anticipating the media frenzy and publicity his appearance will give.

But Arab newspapers and websites across the Middle East are focusing on another phenomenon, otherwise known as the “Tatlitug Effect.” His good looks and charmhave left many women unsatisfied with their own ‘real-life’ marriages, causing a bizarre rash of divorces across the region.

According to press reports, the hit Turkish soap has sparked a rash of divorces as women compare their real-life husbands to the TV heart-throb.

According to, the parent company of MBC, which broadcasts Noor, a Saudi man from Damman divorced his wife after she became obsessed with Tatlitug, constantly complaining that he should be as romantic as the soap actor.

In another instance, a Jordanian daily reported that a husband divorced his wife after she uploaded Tatlitug’s image onto her cell phone. The blogosphere has also circulated a story of a woman arriving at a funeral, then checking with the facility to make sure they have a television that broadcasted MBC 4.

Whether the young star’s fame is temporary or not will be up to the fans. As millions continue to tune in, fervour is rising as Noor becomes one of the most watched shows in Arab TV history.

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