In order to build a radical Islamic society, Erdogan-led Turkey and its newfound ally Pakistan are promoting Ertugrul, a Turkish TV show inspired by Ottoman Empire’s history. Although the TV show picks some historical facets, it is largely a revivalist narrative about the golden days of Islam and is in the genre of historical fiction.
However, with the promotion by heads of state, the show has broken all the records of popularity in Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Islamic politicians are promoting it as ‘true history’ in order to build an ‘ideal Islamic society’ and promote ‘Islamic values’ in their respective countries.
The Turkish TV actors who starred in the show have become icons in Pakistan and their popularity is overtaking that of Bollywood and Pakistani actors. Engin Altan Duzyatan, who starred as the lead character Ertugrul in the TV series, is set to visit Pakistan in a groundbreaking ceremony of a mosque in Islamabad.
Moreover, he has been appointed as brand ambassador of a private housing scheme in the capital city of Pakistan. “Engin Altan popularity skyrocketed in Pakistan after the drama series Dirilis: Ertugrul started airing in Pakistan in Urdu dubbing,” reported the Siasat Times.
In the last few months, the people and government of Pakistan dumped their ideological guru Saudi Arabia- which is slowly becoming moderate- for a more radical and vocal Turkey which is being led by charismatic Islamist leader.
Previously, a few days after Turkey converted the controversial structure- Hagia Sophia- into a mosque, two Islamic extremists in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan laid claim over a historical gurudwara in Lahore. Taking a lesson from Turkey, Pakistani people wanted to convert Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan, a historical gurdwara where Bhai Taru Ji made the supreme sacrifice in 1745, into a mosque.
Since the day Turkish President spoke against the scrapping of Article 370 by India, Pakistan has found a new messiah. PM Imran Khan has already accepted Erdogan as the new Khalifa and is trying to promote Turkish culture in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan personally urged all Pakistanis to watch Ertugrul to learn “Islamic values” and “culture”, He said that “third hand culture” is being promoted in Pakistan through Hollywood and Bollywood. Ertugrul, which builds myths of Islamic golden age during the Ottoman Empire, has broken all records of TV viewership in Pakistan.
“Unfortunately, I have to say that I am seeing that through Bollywood….30-40 years ago even in Bollywood, you wouldn’t see these kinds of things. Now there is so much dirt in it. They have adopted the worst of Hollywood’s traits. But they don’t show the strength of their own legacy. Our children are being very negatively affected by this,” he said.
Erdogan, who wants to establish Turkey as successor of Ottoman Empire and designate himself as ‘New Khalifa’ has also praised and promoted the TV show which ran in five seasons between 2014-2019. The period of 2014-2019 is also the time when Turkish society slowly moved towards Islamic fundamentalism shedding Ataturk’s century old enshrined values of secularism. Capitalizing on rising Islamic fundamentalism, Erdogan centralised the power and jailed the opposition.
The TV show played an important role in the rise of Erdogan who is stronger than ever despite successive failures on the economic and governance front. Imran Khan has learnt a lot from his ideological guru and is now promoting Islamic extremism to strengthen hold on power as well as to hide failures on the economic and governance front.