The world-famous Turkish drama Ertugrul is now being broadcast on Pakistani television with Urdu dubbing in Pakistan and social media trends show that it is proving to be extremely popular among Pakistani audience.
The play was originally produced by Turkish state-owned media company, TRT in association with a private company, and since it’s release, it has been dubbed into various languages and is available on Netflix in different varieties of languages.
Riaz Manti, director of TRT’s Digital Turkish Radio and TV, heads the TRT team that helps PTV bring the drama to Pakistani audience.
Aliya Nazki of BBC Urdu speaks to Riaz Manti and tries to find out how difficult it was to bring the drama to the audience in Pakistan in their native language and whether he is happy with its popularity or not.
Riaz Manti says that this drama serial is already very successful in Turkey. After it’s release on Netflix with English and Arabic subtitles, it also becomes very popular internationally.
He says that there is an uproar all over the world of Ertugrul. The presidents are posting selfies of Ertugrul, Stars begins to come to meet the actors in the Ertugrul drama serial, Ertugrul cafes begins to open in countries such as Britain and South Africa, and even people are coming to Turkey only for Ertugrul historical tours.
“This drama serial has a very positive cultural impact.”
Riaz Manti says that after it’s success on the Netflix, his team decides to release it on YouTube in different languages.
“We first started dubbing this serial in English and Arabic,” he said. “We now also have released it in Spanish, Russian, and some of its episodes in Kiswahili.”
He says that the Urdu translation of this play was already included in their plans as they were sure that this drama serial will be very popular among Urdu speakers all over the world.
It all starts when they do partnership with PTV. As both TRT and PTV are two state-owned media companies, so a natural relationship has also established.
He further says that Turkish dramas are very popular all over the world. Turkish dramas are the second most watched/popular dramas, in the world after English.
“Ertugrul has added to the popularity of turkish dramas and this wonderful story has made its place in the hearts of people around the world.”
“TRT always tries to create content that you can watch and enjoy with your family, and I think that’s the reason the drama serial/show is so popular in Pakistan,” he says.
Ertugrul Craze in Pakistan
In response to this question, Riaz Manti says: ‘So greatly, that I can’t describe. PTV has done a great job with things like dubbing and broadcasting.”
He says that as far as TRT concerns, Urdu is one of their fastest growing channels in their digital offers.
“Ertugral has agilely gone viral in Pakistan and its episodes keep trending on YouTube in Pakistan every day.”
Riaz explains that there are more than 30 million views and more than 600,000 subscribers so far and he is sure that by the time our readers read this article, the number will be much higher.
Global Success of Ertugrul
He says that this drama serial has been viewed 500 billion times globally. In the last one year, wherever their teams have gone to places in the world, they have seen moss flags in homes and shops, Ertugrul hats on people’s heads and Ertugrul rings in their fingers.
He says that all this is the result of hard work (burning of mid-night oil) of the writers and producers of this drama serial.
“This drama has globally created a tribe, a story in which people from all over the world see themselves as characters.”
Interestingly, in the last few months, the number of viewers of this drama has further increased due to the Corona virus lockdown.
Riaz Manti explains that at this difficult time when people are locked down in their homes and have to pay to most companies for access to their content, TRT decided to upload some content on YouTube to help people during this hard time to pass it.
He says that they have also uploaded some of their other drama serials/shows in different languages on YouTube and very soon all these dramas will also be available in Urdu.
When Riaz was asked if they had received negative feedback on the show/drama serial, he said, “We are surprised, but not at all.”
He says that this drama serial/show has five star rating on Google and the statistics tell their own story.
“The only thing people complaint about is why we’re late in sharing it!”
Ertugrul Cast: Who are the main characters in Ertugrul drama?
The Turkish drama Ertugrul is being broadcast in Urdu in Pakistan and its characters have become a topic of conversation not only on social media but also in public people’s conversations.
The first episode of ‘Ertugrul Ghazi’ has been watched by 20 million people on YouTube.
If you are a fan of this Turkish drama like many Pakistanis nowadays, you will be well acquainted with the characters of Halime Sultan, Turgut and Seljan along with Ertugrul.
So let us introduce you today to some of the main characters of this drama serail.
Here are some the the main cast of ertugrul:
Ertugrul Gazi: Engin Altan Duzyatan
Engin Altan Duzyatan is playing the lead role of Ertugrul in “Dirilis Ertugrul”. He was born in 1979 in the Turkish region of Izmir.
He has been interested in acting since his school days and then in 2001 he graduates from Izmir’s Docks Elliott University with a degree in drama. Then in 2001, he comes to Istanbul in search of work.
His first role for Turkish TV was in the drama series “Ruhsar”, after which he acted in several TV dramas, including “Koçum Benim” and “Yeditepe Istanbul“. In 2005, he began working in films, including director Mustafa Altioklar’s directed movie, Beyza’nın Kadınları which means Shattered Soul.
He has acted in many films and dramas. Apart from TV dramas, he has also acted in theaters and was the director of the drama ‘Dar Ayakkabi Malay’ performed at the Diyarbakir National Theater.
But it would not be wrong to say that “Ertugrul” is his most popular cast/role.
In an interview in 2014, he says that he likes Ertugrul’s story, but he has many concerns about this drama serial because “if the stories based on history are not close to reality, there is a danger of becoming fun and ridiculous.”
After Ertugrul, Engin Altan is now playing the lead role in the drama serial Kursun (Bullet).
Halime Sultan: Esra Bilgiç
Halime Sultan‘s role in Dirilis Ertugrul was her first role and she gained a lot of popularity because of it.
She quits working in Ertugrul in 2018 after which she gets role in a film. Nowadays, she is playing the lead role in a crime drama called ‘Ramo‘.
She describes Halime Sultan’s role as a difficult one and also a great opportunity for her as she gains a lots of popularity because of it.
Isra Bulgich marries Gokhan Tore, a footballer who played for the Turkish national football team in 2017.
However, two years later, in 2019, their relationship ends.
Turgut Alp: Cengiz Coskun
He is a graduate of the Sports Academy and is a professional basketball player. In 2002, he begins modeling and acting.
In 2005, he starred in his first TV drama. The biggest project of his career before Diriliş Ertugrul was Fetih 1453.
He also has acted in the Dag film in 2012.
Seljan: Didem Balçın
She borns in 1982 in Ankara.
She graduates from Ankara University with a degree in theater and then moves to Istanbul where she works in several film and drama serials. She also has worked in theater and won many awards.
On May 9, she marries her finance John Eden.
The wedding was supposed to take place in June, but due to the corona virus epidemic, they ties the knot in a small ceremony.
They also shares the wedding ceremony with their loved ones on Zoom.
Ertugrul History: Who was Ertugrul?
The Turkish drama called Ertugrul Ghazi is being aired in Urdu on Pakistan’s TV channel, PTV. But even before it’s dubbing in Urdu, the drama is so popular in Pakistan that even Prime Minister Imran Khan is considered among its fans who have praised the ‘Islamic civilization’ shown in it.
According to Ottoman tradition, Ertugrul was the father of Uthman I (Osman I), the founder of the Ottoman Empire. Besides that, there is no factual information about him.
The beginnings of this family and empire, which ruled a large part of the world for centuries, are lost in the mists of history. Besides the Ottoman traditions, the history books mention two concrete signs of the era (a coin and an inscription by a historian of the Byzantine Empire) and a dream of Uthman, which we will discuss later.
What is certain is that Uthman belonged to a nomadic tribe living at a place what is now Anatolia, Turkey, and his government was like one of dozens of other smaller Anatolian governments which did not differ much to his government or rule in power.
The question which arises is that what ultimately Uthman or his father did that only the dynasty of this family spread from the tribe to a small state and then from the formation of a large empire of Anatolia to their rule over three continents and then became a caliphate.
The Ottoman Empire was founded in the early 14th century and ended in the 20th century. At that time, 37 sultans belonging to the same family meanwhile sat on the throne of this empire.
According to the historian, it is not less than a miracle for a family to rule so long.
A British Historian Caroline Finkel writes in her book, Osman’s Dream: The History of the Ottoman Empire: “Whatever the reasons were of the success of Ottomans, their two-century-long battle with their neighbors in Anatolia (the area that is somewhat compatible to the borders of present-day Turkey) was fierce.”
Ottoman Traditions about Ertugrul
The American historian Stanford J. Shaw, in his book History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey, writes of the same tradition: “The beginning of the Ottoman Empire has always been an important question for students of history. It is difficult to answer with certainty because of the lack of resources of this era and the contradiction in the traditions written in later era.
According to tradition, in view of the Mongol invasions, this tribe, like many other Turkish tribes, moved to new territories to escape slavery and destruction, and according to J. Shaw, Suleyman Shah is believed to have drowned in the Euphrates River as he entered Syria. And then his two sons went back.
Ertugrul, on the other hand, continued his journey to the west and entered the territory of Anatolia, where the Seljuk rulers, in return for their help, gave them land in the western part of Anatolia.
According to this tradition in J. Shah’s book, Ertugrul died in 1280 and his son Osman got the leadership of the tribe.
Finkel writes that according to Ottoman tradition, a tribal chief named Ertugrul came to northwestern Anatolia and settled in the area between the Seljuk and Byzantine empires, and according to this tradition, the Seljuk sultan gave Ertugrul some territory in Sogut. But what was the relation of Ertugrul with Uthman?
Unknown Coin of History
Finkel writes that the only coin found from the time of Uthman, if is genuine, proves that Ertugrul was certainly a historical figure. It is narrated on coin: “Issued by Uthman, son of Ertugrul”.
Finkel adds that Uthman’s issuance of this coin in his own name proves that he was not only a tribal chief at that time, but he had begun to consider himself an independent wealthy outside the shadow of the Seljuk Mongol Empire in Anatolia.
Origination of Ottoman Empire
Finkel writes that the first mention of the Ottomans is around 1300 AD.
A Byzantine historian of the time wrote that in 1301, a man named Uthman confronts the Byzantine army with the aid of his army . This battle, known as the Battle of Bapheus, was fought near Constantinople (Istanbul) and the Byzantine army was badly defeated.
But the Ottomans still had a long way to go to equate the great Byzantine Empire. And when that happened, there were many stories about a family suddenly emerging from obscurity and coming so far.
Historians say that the Ottomans were fortunate in having their territory close to Constantinople, which assured them a great success and reward.
Dream of Osman
Historian Leslie P. Paris, in his book, “The Imperial Harem: Women and Sovereignty in the Ottoman Empire“, writes that according to the most widely heard tradition about the beginning of the Ottoman Empire, Osman had a dream after his initial success.
In this dream, he sees that a moon appears from the chest of a dervishes Sheikh Edebali and enters his chest. At the same time, a huge tree emerges from his belly, the shadow of which covers the whole world.
There are springs flowing under the branches of this tree from which people drink water and irrigate the fields. When Osman asks Sheikh Edebali for an interpretation, he says that God has chosen Osman and his descendants to rule the world, and he says that the moon that comes out of his chest and enters Osman’s chest is his daughter.
Sheikh Edebali had a daughter who became Osman’s wife after this dream.
Finkel writes that the early Ottoman sultans were more interested in proving their right to rule over others than in taking interest to know the history of their beginnings, and that their empire began with a dream that Osman had during his stay at the house of an elderly dervishes.
She further writes that there is documentary evidence in favor of the story of this dream and it is that the documents of the lands of the early Ottoman Empire indicate that there was an elder named Edebali in the time of Osman, and there are also some evidences that his daughter was one of Osman’s two wives.
Ertugrul’s Anatolia was 13th century Anatolia.
Caroline Finkel writes that Anatolia has long been inhabited by people of many races and religions, including Jews, Armenians, Kurds, Greeks and Arabs.
To the west of this region was a much weaker Byzantine Empire of the past (which in good times extended from Anatolia to Syria) and to the east were the Seljuks who called themselves Roman Seljuks.
The defeat at the hands of the Mongols in the middle of the 13th century weakened the Seljuks and they were forced to pay some amount to the Mongols on monthly basis. The authority of the two powerful governments of the past was equal to not being in this area of “uncertainty” between their borders.
But it was not just a hotbed of militants. In addition to the adventurers, there were also some people who had nowhere else to go.
Finkel takes a picture of the region, where the Ottoman Empire was founded, and says that … “This region is home to gypsies, semi-gypsies, looters, military enthusiasts, slaves from different battles, dervishes, monks and priests visiting scattered settlements, homeless peasants seeking refuge, townspeople, tranquility and Restless souls seeking holy places, Muslim teachers seeking patronage, and the paths of the merchants who were not afraid of any danger.”
Finkel writes that the highlight of this mismanaged region was the presence of Muslim dervishes. Like Christian monks, they traveled all the time or stayed among their followers and their lives became a part of the traditions.
“The dervishes were a sign of the image of Islam in the region that was common with the Sunni Islam of the Seljuk Empire in Anatolia.”
Stanford J. Shaw writes in his book that “When the Turks (Gypsies) came to Anatolia, the Sufi elders also came with them, which the powerful Seljuk rulers did not object to because of their popularity among the Sufis. They were happy to leave the area.”
“In this, some Christians were killed and forced to leave their homes, but most remained there,” he added. “Some even converted to Islam … Some Turkish Sufi also entered Christian places of worship, where Christians and Muslims were seen worshiping in the same place.”
In the region of Sogut (where Ertugrul is said to have met Seljuk Sultan) there is a small mosque named Ertugrul and a tomb/shrine which is said to have been built for him by Ertugrul’s son. And then to which Osman’s son Orhan added.
Caroline Finkel writes that this mosque and tomb/shrine have been worked on so many times that no trace has survived since its first construction, so it cannot be said with certainty that any building is of the era of Osman (Ottoman period).
She added further that at the end of the 19th century, Sultan Abdul Hamid II sought to use the fame of his ancestors to improve the reputation of the weakening empire, and rebuilt the tomb/shrine of Ertugrul in Sogut and the builted a graveyard (cemetery) of ‘Ottoman Martyrs’.
Why a TV drama about Ertugrul’s life?
In an article published in the Middle Eastern Review, Josh Carney, an anthropologist at the American University of Beirut, asked, “Why did the Turkish government choose Ertugrul instead of so many famous characters?“
Josh Carney says that Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1566-1520) and Abdul Hamid II (1909-1876) were more famous in the history of Ottoman Empire than Ertugrul, but Ertugrul became a TV serial for no reason.
Turkish TV channel TRT’s world-famous series “Derles Ertugrul” is based on the progress of Kayi tribe fighting various enemies in Anatolia.
“As a result, while little is known about the historical role of Ertugrul, the role of TRT is popular in Turkey and abroad and people love it.”
In an article written in 2018, Carney says that many aspects of the series were evident in the advertisements for the constitutional referendum in Turkey, that “there is no doubt that history and popular culture have been combined for political gain.”
Carney says that in making a TV serial about a person/character that people don’t know, the ease is that it can be presented in any way or color. (While) on the other hand, people are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of popular personalities.
Carney says that it is the reason why the series about Sultan Suleiman had never been so successful. “Making a series about Ertugrul was like painting a blank slate with custom colors.”