“Cultural Battle in Turkey ” – Qantara

Ruler during the heyday of the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century and the subject of a controversial television soap opera: Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent . Source : Qantara

“Emotions are running high in Turkey due to a new television series that supposedly paints an embarrassing picture of the private life of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I, thus tarnishing the image of the Ottoman Empire. Jürgen Gottschlich in Istanbul has the details

They came equipped with drums and dressed as Janissaries. Hundreds of demonstrators, mobilised by the Saadet Party, gathered outside the gates of the private television network Show TV and loudly demanded that a newly launched television series be taken off air. Muhtesem Yüzyil (in English “The Magnificent Century”) is currently the most hotly debated series on Turkish television.

 It tells of Suleiman the Magnificent and his harem. For Islamists, the right wing and those nostalgic for the days of the Ottoman Empire, the show represents a base betrayal of the country’s great past. After all, the 40-year reign of Suleiman Kanuni (known in Turkey not as “Suleiman the Magnificent”, but as “Suleiman the Lawgiver”) was the heyday of the Ottoman Empire.

In no other era was the empire as powerful, never was it larger than in the sixteenth century, when Suleiman’s troops first conquered Budapest and then laid siege to Vienna. This heritage is nothing to laugh about. Its critics are calling the series “inappropriate”, “disrespectful”, “impertinent”, “stupid” and, to make matters worse, “historically incorrect”, saying that it consequently has no business being broadcast on Turkish television.

This is the opinion not only of conservative demonstrators on the street, but also of Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinc, who publicly announced that he would wield his authority to try to stop the broadcasting of the harem soap opera. The state-run Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) was convened without delay. […]”

Source : Qantara

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