The Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan wants Pakistanis to watch the popular Turkish television series called Dirilis: Ertugrul. For those of you who are unaware of the show, Dirilis: Ertugrul has been dubbed ‘Turkish Game of Thrones‘ and gained massive popularity last year.
The period drama follows the historical events of how the Oghuz Turks established the Ottoman Empire. Following Turkish period dramas Mere Sultan and Hurrem Sultan, most people immediately jumped on the Dirilis: Ertugrul bandwagon.
The show has a fan following in 60 countries mostly in the West.
Imran Khan wants it in Urdu
Imran Khan even insisted that all five seasons should be dubbed in Urdu so that even the general public can watch the show. With the Prime Minister’s strong stance on countering Islamophobia through soft power, this would make sense.
In fact, on the sidelines of the recent United Nations General Assembly meeting, PM Imran Khan met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad to deliberate on this issue.
The three discussed collaboration to set up an English language channel to counter the rising sentiment of Islamophobia and misconceptions about Islam and Muslims at an international level.
About Dirilis: Ertugrul
Dirilis: Ertugrul would fit perfectly into that agenda with its positive representation of Muslims Oghuz Turks protecting their home following the fall of the Abbasi Caliphate and Mongols, Christian Byzantines and the fanatic Knights Templar Crusaders invasions in the 12th century.
This was before Turks had land to call their own and the path that led to founding the Ottoman Empire, and of course, modern-day Turkey.
Turkish filmmaker Mehmet Bozdag actually created the stow in 2014. Dirilis: Ertugrul cast Engin Atlan Duzyaten in the titular role, with Esra Bilgic as Halime Sultan, Yaman Tumen as Gunduzalp, Hulya Darcan as Hayme Ana, Nurettin Sonmez as Basmi Beyrek, Cengis Coskun as Turgut Alp, Cemal Hunal as Ares, Burak Hakki as Sultan Aladdin, etc.
The cast much like Game of Thrones is extensive and so is the series. From Kamal Khan in the Bond film, Octopussy to Alauddin Khilji in Padmaavat, Muslims are usually never the good guys. Dirilis: Ertugrul bucks that trend.
Unlike how Muslim women are often portrayed in media, Dirilis Ertugrul shows Muslim women are wise rulers, warriors, strategist and a strength to their men, not a liability. This is a stark contrast to the common perception of Muslim concubines hidden in harems.
With all that, we definitely need more positive representation of Muslims like Dirilis Ertugrul.