Ottoman heir to sue TV dramas ‘insulting' ancestors

Published 18.11.2015 23:08

Popular dramas criticized for misrepresenting rulers of the Ottoman Empire may be subject to legal action, as a descendant of the sultans announced that he would file lawsuits against "Magnificent Century" and "Kösem Sultan" - two dramas he branded as "insulting."

Abdülhamid Kayıhan Osmanoğlu, a descendant from the lineage of Abdülhamid II, the 34th sultan of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled for six centuries in a vast region spanning from Turkey to the Balkans and Egypt, said he was disturbed by the portrayal of the sultans and their families on TV.

Osmanoğlu told Anadolu Agency (AA) that he could not come across a correct depiction of Ottoman sultans on TV shows. "Our grandfathers ruled the world for centuries but unfortunately, there are TV series like ‘Magnificent Scandal' [depicting them in a negative light]," he said, referring to "Magnificent Century," a popular drama that was broadcasted on Turkish TV channels from 2011 to 2014. "Magnificent Century" tells the story of Ottoman Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent and his wife Hürrem Sultan, and was one of the most popular dramas in Turkish TV history that has garnered several awards. The series, which starred Meryem Sahra Uzerli, a little-known German-born actress to stardom, has also gained a cult following abroad after it was shown on TV channels in 45 countries - reaching an audience of more than 210 million people.

He also criticized "Kösem Sultan," another drama produced by the team behind "Magnificent Century," about Sultan Ahmed I and his consort Mahpeyker Kösem Sultan, which debuted last week in Turkey. "This show does not depict Ottoman traditions correctly. It offends the public's feelings toward the Ottomans," he said, adding that his family would file lawsuits against all TV shows "insulting" their grandfathers and grandmothers.

"Magnificent Century," the first major TV series on the life of Süleyman, one of the most famous sultans of the Ottoman dynasty, had drawn public ire for depicting the sultan as a relentless womanizer who would constantly party. The series was also criticized for a string of anachronisms while portraying life in the Ottoman court. But the most significant reaction focused on the harem, where the wives and concubines of the sultans lived. The series had come under fire by historians for its portrayal of the harem. The harem in the series showed women wearing low-cleavage dresses - though dressing in such fashion is forbidden in Islam, which was strictly followed by the sultans - and portrays it as a place laced with intrigue straight out of soap operas. Historians dispute it and claim little is said in historical sources about the harem, which is commonly defined as the household of the sultan.

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