TALKING YOUTH ISSUES OVER COFFEE
Socialising over hot beverages has been an integral part of Middle Eastern culture for centuries, since long before cafés first gained popularity in the Western world. SAT-7 is now showing two new youth programs that follow this tradition.
“Young people need practical advice. That is why we wanted to make this program – this kind of Christian resource isn’t available in Turkey,” says Uygar Duzgüner, Producer of the new SAT-7 TÜRK show Turning Point. As the youth pastor of a church in Istanbul, the 28-year-old is acutely aware of the limited Christian resources available to young Turks.
“The most important issues are discussed across coffee tables, so we wanted to recreate this safe, comfortable environment on-screen to encourage youth to open up,” he explains.
SAT-7 TÜRK’S FIRST LIVE YOUTH SHOW
Turning Point is the first ever live youth show on SAT-7 TÜRK. In a café setting that creates a relaxed and homely atmosphere, the presenters address youth issues from a Christian standpoint.
The program aims to help youth address behaviours such as lying, gossiping, and unfaithfulness in relationships.
TAILORED TO TURKS
“The program is based on material from the Profound Change Bible study course, which has been specifically adapted to Turkish culture. It’s a course that we use in our own church,” Duzgüner explains.
Although Christian material translated from English is used for academic purposes, he says, it does not resonate with the young Turkish audience. “We want viewers to be engaged – to have a sense of familiarity and see their daily struggles reflected and discussed on screen,” he continues.
ENGAGING DRAMA FOR PERSIANS
Meanwhile, SAT-7 PARS has produced a new youth drama series that demonstrates how to deal with everyday problems through drama and storytelling. Café Bahar is the first Farsi program of its kind to be broadcast on SAT-7 PARS.
In the corner of the program’s coffee shop set sits an inconspicuous customer. This young woman is Café Bahar’s narrator, who speaks directly to the camera about the conversations she observes around her. In each episode, she offers a biblical perspective and practical advice.
The show’s format reflects a typical scene that could be witnessed in an Iranian coffee shop in the seventeenth century, when it was common for actors to explain moral lessons to customers through drama.
FRESH IDEAS FOR AVID VIEWERS
Director and Producer Nader Taghizadeh explains the thinking behind this format, saying:
“We wanted to produce something that is relevant and relatable to all young people. They don’t want more formal teaching, or another chat show, because we have these already on SAT-7 PARS. This is why we chose to appeal to youth through drama and entertainment.”
Café Bahar is fresh not only in its chosen genre but also in its location: it is set in Paris.
“Many young people in Iran think that if they were in another country, their problems would not exist,” Taghizadeh explains. “We want to show them that young people across the world face similar problems and analyse how these problems can be dealt with from a biblical perspective.”
The hope is that as young viewers watch, they will feel less isolated and more equipped to deal with their own challenges and problems.
SAT-7 PARS is prioritising the production of relevant programming for youth because they constitute such a significant portion of the Persian-speaking world. Nearly 50 percent of Iranians are under 30, while in Afghanistan, the figure is over 70 percent.
The need is as urgent in Turkey, where a quarter of the 80 million-strong population is between 15-29 years old. SAT-7 TÜRK Programming Manager Cunyet Arikan says:
“We want to give youth hope. We’re presenting them with a God that they’ve never known – a God who wants a relationship with them. We want to tell them about a God who loves them, cares about them, and can save them from their troubles. We want to make programs to help them live in happiness despite the chaos around them.”
 Source: Bourse & Bazaar [https://bit.ly/2s4U1Pu]
 Source: Population Pyramid [https://www.Populationpyramid.net]
 Source: Youth Policy [http://www.youthpolicy.org/factsheets/country/turkey/]