Muhtesem Yuzyil Magnificient Century takes Turkey by storm

Show TV’s new soap opera, Muhtesem Yuzyil “Magnificient Century”, takes the lead in news.

The public protested the new soap opera of Turkey’s biggest TV station, Show TV. They wanted the new soap to be stopped.

The protestors read passages from the Quran, blocked highways, egged the building of Show TV station, threatened to boycott the corporation which owned that TV station, tore down public ads and sang the tunes of the Ottoman military band.

All because a TV station started broadcasting a soap they claim would portray the Ottoman dynasty as both “indecent” and “hedonistic.”

The protestors were Islamist Turks (not to be confused with Muslim Turks) – who might brand themselves as “conservative” Turks; they were furious the new soap was featuring the reign of Süleyman I, also known as Süleyman the Magnificent (hence the title of the soap, “The Magnificent Century”) as a period full of alcohol, women of the harem and other “hedonistic” flavors. The “conservative” Turks assumed that the cups the dynasty members drank from as seen on the trailer contained alcohol.

The general line of reaction against “Süleyman the hedonist” has quickly become a matter involving governance. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç obviously threatened the broadcaster when he said that, “Those who try to humiliate the important people of our history…should face retribution. What is necessary will be done.” Then the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, deputy parliamentary group chairman, Suat Kılıç, said, “600 years of Ottoman history was not built on the harem.”

The AKP members and their conservative supporters should be able to understand the difference between documentary and fiction. The alarming fact is that “conservative” Turks do not have tolerance even for fiction when their “ancestors” are at stake – let alone religious figures.

Only the first episode was on air and already all religious figures started to discuss why world conqueror Suleyman 1 ( known as Muhtesem Suleyman, or Kanuni Sultan Suleyman ) who stayed as a sultan for 46 years has only been shown in Harem at Topkapi Palace with so many women and alcohol. They were angry saying why none of the war scenes were shown. Why the sultan who conquered half of Europe and Africa has only been discussed with his sexual life? If they feel too annoyed at what the harem featured in Ottoman times, they can always change the channel. They can argue that sultans did not kill their own sons and brothers for power, or that they never had Christian mothers. They can even claim that history books are wrong when they say the Ottoman Empire had actually collapsed.

People should understand this is not a historical documentary and only a soap opera who is inspired by the Ottomon Empire’s and Suleyman’s history.

I am already curious to see the reactions of the public after watching the next episode which will be on air on January 12th, on Wednesday.

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Author: istanbul

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