« Turkish President Abdullah Gül has hailed depictions of history in TV shows and movies, adding his voice to recent debates over whether the depiction of history by artistic circles distorts society’s perceptions about certain historical incidents and figures.
“The fact that historical events or people are being dealt with in movies or TV series is a welcome development,” Gül said during the annual Presidential Grand Awards in Culture and Arts on Thursday.
The president stated that history, especially the Ottoman era, has in recent years become a subject of curiosity and interest for people and that’s why we see historical events and figures being more frequently portrayed in TV series, films and stories.
“It is important to take lessons from history. As the Turkish saying goes, ‘history repeats itself’,” Gül further stated.
The debate on TV shows based on history was sparked by remarks from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who severely criticized “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century), a historical soap opera on Turkish networks centered on the intrigues of the Ottoman Palace. Those who criticize the series say it portrays şehzades, or the children of the sultan, as indulged only in sensual pleasures.
Erdoğan feels that the series undermines the golden age of Turkish history, as it portrays Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, known as Kanuni in Turkish, who reigned from his coronation in 1520 to his death in 1566, in a way conservatives in Turkey say is skewed.
Erdoğan not only lashed out at the show but also at its producers, as well as the owner of the network that runs it. “We know no such Kanuni. He spent 30 years of his life on horseback [as opposed to the life of indulgence portrayed in the series]. I publicly condemn the directors of that show and the owners of the television station. We have warned the authorities about this. I expect the judiciary to make the right decision.”
The series has been running for two years. Erdoğan and other government representatives have occasionally expressed their annoyance with it, but this was the first time Erdoğan called on the judiciary to act against the show, sparking a major controversy about free speech in Turkey. »
Source : Today’s Zaman