Ertugrul: The Turkish TV Show Appealing Pakistan
The Turkish historical TV show Dirilis Ertugrul (Ertugrul’s Resurrection) has held all the ferocity in Pakistan since the state broadcaster started televising a dubbed version in April.
The show’s enormous fame has polarised sentiment in Pakistan. Some think it is a threat to native culture and fosters violence, while others praise it for honoring Muslim heroes.
But it’s not only celebrities and analysts who are remarking on the drama – but the country’s politicians are also actively associated in the debate.
This is not the first Turkish production to have become widespread in Pakistan. But what is distinct about Ertugrul – usually depicted as the Muslim Game of Thrones – is that Prime Minister Imran Khan favors it for causes considered to be both private and civic.
Mr. Khan is, arguably, one of the principal causes why this overseas show is producing waves in Pakistan. He not only advised the show and directed PTV to broadcast it, but maintained the show would assist Pakistan in understanding the significance of Islamic enlightenment.
Ever since his comments, the series, which is being televised as Ertugrul Ghazi (Warrior) in Urdu, has been smashing records for Pakistan’s viewing numbers.
Critics consider Mr. Khan has upheld the program because he associates with its development of Islamic values. It aligns with his purpose of building Pakistan as an excellent Islamic community.
Since he became prime minister, Mr. Khan stated he desired “to conceive a Pakistan which is in order with the primary Muslim community built by Prophet Muhammad in Medina.” But it appears to be pretty private interest.
An article in the foremost daily Dawn suggests that “the cause may continue a much-publicized, behind-the-scenes connection, where Prime Minister Khan met with Turkish President [Recep] Tayyip Erdogan and [then] Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad at the UNGA (UN General Assembly).”
In September 2019, Mr. Khan and Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Mahathir floated the thought of launching a channel to make a counter-narrative against what they called rising Islamophobia.
But the Pakistani PM has been facing some criticism reception for openly backing the show. Opposition senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan lately stated in parliament: “Imran Khan cannot make the State of Medina by promoting the Ertugrul show,” Dawn published.
The series is predicated on the lifetime of the 13th-century Muslim Oghuz Turk leader Ertugrul, whose son Osman Ghazi is taken into account the founding father of the Ottoman Empire. It depicts the bravery of Muslim Oghuz Turks fighting the Mongol invaders, Christians, Byzantines, and the Knights Templar in Anatolia.
In Pakistan, some media outlets say the drama “glorifies the Muslim value system and the Ottoman Empire.”
An article in popular local daily the state also believes the drama “rightly glorifies Muslim heroes, Islamic history and ethics.”
Muslims have frequently been shown “through the gaze of negativity” in TV sequences and films, hence the show notes a pleasant development, analysts assert.
Like journalist Aamna Haider Isani – writing within the News Daily – feels the show has served an “extremely important purpose of combating Islamophobia within the world.”
But critics, such as activist Pervez Hoodbhoy, disagree. “If it attempts to pitch Islam as a faith of peace and to counter Islamophobia, then the very contrast is done,” he penned in Dawn, indicating the great violence and beheadings presented in the show.
And some, like social activist-turned-politician Jibran Nasir, says the show is creating an “identity crisis” among Pakistanis.
On 24 May, the state-funded Anadolu press agency quoted locals in Pakistan praising the show for “raising the Islamic flag” and “showing how a Muslim leader should be.”
Some feel the absence of high-quality content in Pakistani TV series is one reason for the foreign drama’s massive popularity.
Several Pakistani Twitter users declare Ertugrul is “a distinct piece of entertainment over the typical and lifeless storyline of domestic matters in Pakistani series.”
“It is quite evident that there are far too many channels and not enough quality content being made,” says a piece of writing within the News.
Pakistan’s TV industry is popular, but it isn’t mainly known for its focus on Islamic values – though it has produced shows like Alif in this genre.
Pakistani show-makers seem threatened by the Turkish show, and lots of people, including Federal Minister Fawad Chaudhry, worry that foreign content will eventually hurt the local show industry.
But amid the raging debate, journalist Isani hopes that Ertugrul will inspire Pakistan to form better productions reception.