“Controversial Turkish soap opera faces criminal complaint” – Today’s Zaman

“A businessman in the tourism industry has filed a criminal complaint against a controversial historical soap opera aired on a Turkish network, accusing it of undermining people’s understanding of Turkish history.

Ömer Faruk Bildirici, who lives in the central province of Konya, filed the complaint on Friday in a Konya court against “Muhteşem Yüzyıl” (Magnificent Century), a soap opera centered on the intrigues of the Ottoman Palace that airs on Star TV.

Bildirici accused the TV show of distorting society’s perceptions of certain historical incidents and figures and demanded a ban on the TV show in a petition which will be forwarded to the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office.

“Muhteşem Yüzyıl” has become a top issue of debate in the country after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan severely criticized the show, saying it 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 on the air 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

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