Turkish television series, Released (Ertugrul Resurrection), based on the life and times of 13th century Turkish Muslim leader Oghuz, Ertugrul, has made Pakistan stricken by the storm.
According to state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV), 133.38 million people have so far watched the drama series from April 25 to May 14. Also, episodes that are trending on YouTube in Pakistan every day.
In just 20 days, since the Urdu dubbed series began broadcasting, the YouTube PTV channel has recorded an exponential increase in viewership with 2.1 million subscribers, destroying all previous records.
With the growing popularity, these numbers are expected to rise further in the coming days.
Government-owned TV, which began broadcasting programs under arrangement with Turkish Radio and Television (TRT), made it accessible to a much larger audience and sparked public interest.
PTV launched the first episode on April 25, the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. The series was dubbed in Urdu on the instructions of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who had expressed interest in the series last year during a tour to Turkey.
“During locking, I watch the season regularly. The loyal and fearless Ibn Arabi figures from Andalusia and the Claudius Knights who later converted to Islam and became Umar are my favorites, “said Mohammad Ibrahim Qazi, grandson of the late Qazi Hussain Ahmad, leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami party.
Like many other countries, Pakistan had imposed lockdowns throughout the country in March, to stem the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. This series is useful for keeping people indoors.
Millions of Pakistanis jump on social media and warmly welcome Ertugrul. Viewers are constantly commenting and sharing serial scenes on Twitter.
“First I heard from Prime Minister Khan advising people to watch this series. Then I decided to see the drama and since then I didn’t miss a single episode,” Shaista Khan, a school teacher from Dir, a district in the province Northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told Anadolu Agency.
Positive developments for cultural enrichment
He said Ertugrul might be the first series in a long time that can be watched with the whole family sitting together. It also provides historical knowledge to children, he said.
Often described as the Game of Thrones of Turkey, the series depicts 13th-century Anatolia and tells the story before the founding of the Ottoman Empire. This illustrates the struggle of Ertugrul Gazi, father of the first imperial leader.
“I consider it a positive development for our cultural and literary enrichment. Today, when we say globalization in terms of people to people who contact Ertugrul, is one step to bring Pakistanis and Turks closer together, “said Syed Fakhar Kakakhel, a journalist based in Islamabad who writes about art and culture.
The series, which has attracted millions of viewers in a short amount of time, has also opened new avenues for the country’s entertainment industry.
“Pakistanis will change their minds after reconnecting with the glorious past of the Middle Ages. There is a natural tendency to stay away from Bollywood. Turkey’s multimedia industry replaces the Bollywood craze and has succeeded in carving a niche in Pakistan, “Qazi said.
He said the popularity of the Turkish series in Pakistan was an ideal case for the two countries to join hands in the multimedia sector to combat the increasing number of Islamophobia cases around the world.
“In our environment in India, such historic films have accumulated a lot of income. Pakistan and Turkey can have joint ventures to produce content based on history, “said Kakakhel
The Ertugrul series is based on the heyday of Muslims which is our common culture. That is why it has attracted many viewers in Pakistan, “he added.
Last month, before PTV began broadcasting a historical series, Prime Minister Khan asked viewers to watch it because it displays Islamic cultural values and history.
“Third-class culture is being promoted in Pakistan through Hollywood and Bollywood. I want our children and teenagers to learn differences and show that we also have our own culture, “he said, referring to the Ertugrul series.
“We have a culture with romance and history, but it is also filled with Islamic values. Unfortunately, content from Bollywood is full of vulgarities, which were not three or four decades ago, “he added.
This series mainly made waves among young Pakistanis.
“Thanks to the PM @ImranKhanPTI for organizing #ErtugrulUrduPTV #Ertugral provides a source of Motivation & Inspiration to learn & Apply Islamic core values, this enhances morale that we can overcome every challenge with a strong will, belief & with the help of Allah , “Writes a Twitter user engineer Salman Ahmad Khan.
Last September, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia agreed to combat the rising trend of Islamophobia, especially in the West. They have decided to launch a television channel dedicated to facing the challenges posed by Islamophobia and to producing films about Muslim heroes.
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