A new film about the life and times of the Sufi mystic, dervish and legendary poet Yunus Emre will soon be showing at cinemas in Turkey, reports Hürriyet Daily News (Philosophical Pioneer). [Update: Jan 10, 2014 is official release date]
Contemporaries of Emre including Rumi, Tapduk Emre, Barak Baba, Sarı Saltuk and Hacı Bektaş Veli are portrayed in the film. Traditional Turkish folk instruments such as the ney, rebap and tan bur feature in the musical score, and the film was shot at historical locations in 12 provinces in Anatolia.
The Turkish soap Magnificent Century (Muhteşem Yüzyıl), a period drama about Ottoman ruler Süleyman the Magnificent (1494-1566), continues to make inroads overseas, and even China plans to broadcast it (CCTV Buys Rights). But it appears that Mera Sultan, literally “My Sultan” as it is known in Pakistan where it is already very popular, has upset both Islamic conservatives and the TV industry:
The Ottoman Turks did not expand their empire as far as today’s Pakistan, but some here fear their descendants are now launching a cultural invasion via popular soap operas, which Pakistani artists and politicians say threaten the local TV industry and the country’s conservative Islamic values. Some of the Turkish shows feature actresses wearing miniskirts and showing cleavage, a far cry from the billowing shalwar kameez garments worn by most Pakistani women that hardly reveal skin. The shows, which have taken Pakistan by storm over the last year, are attractive to local TV operators because they are much cheaper to buy than Pakistani dramas are to produce, and also feature more elaborate costumes and sets.
See Turkish TV Invasion for full text.
Magnificent Century (“Muhteşem Yüzyıl”), the extremely popular Turkish soap about the life of the tenth Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, has reportedly been purchased by CCTV for broadcast in China.
It’s not as if China is boldly going where others dare not tread. The show’s distributor, Global Agent, claims that 40-plus countries have bought the rights to broadcast it, including some Arab countries, Russia and Italy.
For China, however, there are some delicate issues involved, mainly surrounding the 10-million-strong Uyghurs in Xinjiang who, like today’s Turkish, are Muslim by tradition and speak a Turkic tongue. Turkey is home to Uyghurs in exile, and is seen as giving tacit support to Xinjiang’s independence movement. Like the former Soviet Union, China is wary of any hint of pan-Turkism, and while Turkish businesspeople are welcome in the PRC, they cannot visit Xinjiang without a special permit.
Ironically, this series about the life of Süleyman the Magnificent (1520-1566) which has done so much to burnish Turkey’s image worldwide, particularly in the Arab world, has reaped nothing but scorn from Turkey’s current Prime Minister Erdoğan, not to mention other home-grown critics (Culture War). Read the rest of this entry »