The Seks Furyasi (sex-movie boom) years of Turkish erotic films (1972-1985)
7,000 people attended the opening gala of Turkey's first home-grown sex film …
It's not known exactly when foreign erotic films were first introduced to the Ottomans, but it's reported that police captured a large cache of foreign sex films in 1922 (a year before Atatürk removed the last Ottoman Sultan from 'power' and made Turkey a democratic republic ). The Istanbul police (acting on a tip from criminal citizen Dr. Besim Omer Pasa) raided and closed down the Kadiköy and Odeon cinema houses, that were showing explicit foreign sex movies – on the grounds that "the films are poisoning our youth".
Subsequently, the 'legitimate' Turkish film industry (which had been formally established in 1914 during the Ottoman Age) continued to grow and thrive up until the early 1970s (as we've already described on our website).
But after Turkish Television (TRT) started broadcasting on a single channel in 1964, Turkish audiences began to abandon cinema houses in favor of their home TV sets (even though TRT programs did not start until 4 in the afternoon and were all in black and white – and even though they largely dominated news, Halk (Cultural Folk) Music programs, Casper-like cartoons, and re-runs of US mystery [The Fugitive] and detective [Colombo] shows – with Turkish dubbing).
Peri and I watched Colombo every week after we got married in December '74. And the guy who did the dubbing for Colombo's Turkish voice was superb – perfectly capturing Peter Falk's gravely voice.
And by the early 70's (as more families came to own personal TV sets) the Turkish film industry was in severe financial trouble.
In a panic, film producers bought ways to bring audiences back to the cinema houses. It was not long before they concluded that 'Sex Sells' and, in 1972, they started making erotic movies.
The idea was an instant success … Seven thousand people attended the gala opening of the first Turkish erotic film "Parçala Behçet" (see the movie poster via the link a little further below) – directed by Melih Gülgen, and starring Behçet Nacar in the leading male role. It opened in Konya, of all places, in the heart of Turkish religious conservatism – and it was the start of something big …
Next: The Heyday of Turkish Erotic Films
[Click following to access a fully illustrated HTML version of The Rise and Demise of Turkey's Erotic Films Industry .]