After the massive success of Dirilis: Ertugrul in Pakistan, the Turkish Radio and Television Network is planning to expand the global reach of its content and it seems like they are interested in their content being aired in Pakistan.
“TRT is focused on expanding our global content offering and Urdu is one of the main languages as part of our plan,” said Riyaad Minty, the digital director for TRT and head the network’s team helping PTV broadcast Ertugrul in Pakistan while talking to SAMAA Digital.
The popular Turkish drama series was dubbed in the Urdu language on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan shares his views over PTV telecast of famous Turkish drama serial Diriliş: Ertuğrul; it will make our youth learn about Islamic history and ethics pic.twitter.com/pymAPbJFLr
— Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) April 24, 2020
The first episode of the show, originally produced by TRT in collaboration with a private company, was aired on PTV on April 25. Its YouTube channel has 2.92 million subscribers and more than 207.31 million views.
The show is based on life of Ertugrul Bey, father of Osman Bey, the 13th-century founder of Ottoman Empire. The first season of popular TV show describes the pre-Ottoman era campaigns waged by Ertugrul Bey against the Christians.
The drama series has gained so much popularity in the country that people have actually started thinking that an Ottoman kind of government might be good for the country.
“There should be a Sultanate where there is no oppression against Muslims and others,” said an Ertugrul fan and a government servant in Karachi. “In short, there should be a Sultanate where we feel that we are actually following Islam.”
Shazia Tabassum, an MPhil student in media studies, told SAMAA Digital that she loves the Turkish series because it gives the people an idea of what Muslims should do.
“The goal of a man should always be to establish a system of justice,” she said. A Muslim should protect innocent people and have faith in God, she added.
The success of the Turkish epic has encouraged the Pakistani government to air more historical Turkish shows in the country. The next line is Yunus Emre.
A close aide of the PM, Faisal Javed Khan, tweeted about the new series a few weeks ago.
After @DirilisDizisi Ertugrul PM Imran Khan wants Yunus Emre يونس امره (Aşkin Yolculuğu) to be telecast in Pakistan.
Yunus Emre (the Dervish) was an Islamic poet, a mystic & a poor villager. Story of a great Sufi wholly dedicated to ALLAH & searching… pic.twitter.com/xwdTGOHf8I
— Faisal Javed Khan (@FaisalJavedKhan) May 4, 2020
According to Minty, the network has already started releasing some of its other shows, including Yunus Emre, on YouTube in other languages.
Some of Pakistani TV actors, including Reema and Shaan, have criticised PM Khan’s government for promoting Turkish content in the country.
— Shaan Shahid (@mshaanshahid) May 5, 2020
Saife Hassan, a Pakistani actor and director who has recently collaborated with the ISPR to make Ehd-e-Wafa, believes that there is nothing to be afraid of.
I don’t know what the fuss is all abt? At the end of the day lets accept Dirilis #Ertugrul for wht it is; an educational drama series which has historical significance & gr8 moral lessons.I think Engin Altan Düzyatan is pretty hot. A bit like Leonardo Di Caprio no?#crushupdated♥
— Mehwish Hayat TI (@MehwishHayat) May 18, 2020
“If such dramas are made in Pakistan, they will also get very popular,” Hassan told SAMAA Digital. He added that Pakistani artists should take Ertugrul as a challenge.
Whoa, Ertugrul has really stirred the proverbial pot, hasn’t it? It’s almost as though there’s no precedent of a Turkish show gaining immense popularity in Pakistan before.
— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) May 18, 2020
“The suspense element is great…its cinematography is great…its production quality is like English films but the values are Islamic and close to Pakistan,” Hassan said. “It should give us [Pakistani actors] a sense of competition.”
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Even though I respect views of everyone in my fraternity but I feel it’s not the matter of Turkish content or Pakistani content. We should look beyond and understand that its Islamic content, which has so much wisdom and teaches us the history and the values of Muslims. They gave their lives for justice and remained on Allah’s path. And they kept Islam alive. It’s like reading a book which is full of great history of muslims. Let’s just feel proud of our islamic heritage and get motivated and also create content in Pakistan which we should also be proud of. Allah Kareem
Despite criticism from some quarters in Pakistan, the Turkish production team doesn’t rule out possibility of joint Pakistan-Turkish project in future.
Minty said that TRT’s co-production team wants to develop more meaningful relationship with the media industries around the world.
“Our co-production team is always on the lookout to work with partners around the world. We hope that the success of shows like Ertugrul is just the first step in developing a more meaningful relationship with the industry around the world,” he said.
“One of the beautiful things about shows like Ertugrul is that it’s able to also transport us to different cultures and regions, so that we’re also able to expand our understanding beyond our geographic boarders. Our values and shared history is what connects us at our core.”