Controversy over Ertugrul

Muhammad Fahim Dawar

The writer is an entrepreneur and mass communication student.

It is not the first time Esra Bilgic, who plays Halima Sultan in Ertugrul, has won heart and minds of Pakistani fans after airing the popular Turkish series ‘Resurrection Ertugrul’ on state-owned PTV. She triumphed our hearts two years back when she lashed out at Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra for war-mongering after an Indian Air Force attack on Pakistan in 2018. 
‘Resurrection Ertugrul’ has broken records of popularity throughout the Muslim world. The series is being hailed as the Muslim version ‘Game of Thrones’ but has far more superior content than the epic fantasy series. There is no objectification of women in the series and they are portrayed as leaders, great mothers, queens, traders, fighters, and equal to the opposite gender. Every dialogue of the series is philosophical and has deep meaning. Muslims and their glorious history are not portrayed negatively in the series as exhibited in western content.
Some Pakistani newspapers made a fuss out of a few comments over Esra’s appearance on Instagram. These newspapers will only pick those 10 or 20 negative comments and will try to undermine the whole effort but will never print or broadcast sentiments of millions of Pakistanis fans that are cheering up for Esra Bilgic and her impressive performance in the series. There is a small skewed group of academics, journos, and so-called liberals who objected to allowing ‘Dirilis: Ertugrul’ to air in Pakistan by arguing that we should promote our own culture instead of bringing Turkish or Arabic culture into the country.
This is not the first Turkish series that has been aired in Pakistan. Aski Memnu (Forbidden Love), Mera Sultan (Magnificent Century), Kosem Sultan (Turkish: Muhtesem Yuzyil: Kosem), and Famita Gul are some hugely popular Turkish series that made its way to Pakistani screens.
These dramas have been airing in Pakistan for years but no one uttered even a word then. These pseudo-liberal people have nothing to do with liberal values. They hate the Muslim way of life and deem it as regressive and oppressive. The reason behind this small group is making a fuss about Ertugrul is that the series exhibit Islamic values and portray Muslims as heroes and heirs of a great civilization that ruled the world for centuries. 
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