The Turkish TV series Dirilis Ertugrul, available as Resurrection Ertugrul on the OTT giant Netflix is witnessing a huge uproar amid the Covid-19 outbreak globally, especially in the Arab world and South Africa as reported by a number of media houses including TRT World. But there is something which you might have missed even though you are following all the updates related to the popular TV series, and that is none other than the ban imposed by Egypt’s Dar Al-Iftaa on Resurrection Ertugral back in February.
The Global Fatwa Index (GFI) of Egypt’s Dar Al-Iftaa is one of the oldest and most influential bodies in the Middle East that issues fatwas (religious edicts) on all aspects of life and worship of muslims.
According to a news report published on Yeni Şafak, Egypt’s Dar Al-Iftaa has accused Turkey for trying to create an ‘area of influence’ for itself in the Middle East using its soft power. GFI says that Resurrection Ertugral aims to revive the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East and regain sovereignty over Arab countries which were previously under the Ottoman rule, thus shouldn’t be watched.
“They [Erdogan and his followers] export to the people and nations the idea that they are the leaders of the caliphate, responsible for supporting Muslims worldwide and being their salvation from oppression and injustice, while also seeking to implement Islamic law. They hide the fact that their main drive in these colonial campaigns is what [Turkish President] Erdogan reaps from material and political gains.”
– GFIMiddle East Monitor
Before Egypt, Saudi Arabia’s Dubai-based media group MBC (Middle Eat Broadcasting Centre) removed Turkish shows from its biggest TV networks in 2018.
Looking at these decisions and boycott of Turkish entertainment through experts eyes, various media organisations have reported that these moves are targeted to diminish Turkey’s soft power across the Arab world.
It has also been reported that Resurrection Ertugrul despite of the strong opposition and efforts is being watched by millions across the Arab nations, especially through online channels. According to 5PillarsUK, Resurrection Ertugral’s revenues are expected to hit the $1 billion mark by 2023.
According to Daily Sabah, the TV show is also witnessing its strong follower base in India, especially in Kashmir where people are finding the storyline of the series very relatable. Kashmiri journalist Najeeb Mubarki said that Kashmiris watch the series as entertainment but also absorbed its political message. He believes that Resurrection Ertugrul has a political agenda behind just like popular Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata of 1980s.
“We might be a landlocked place, besieged, but we have always been receptive to what comes from the Muslim world and the narratives we can relate to. Ertuğrul definitely has a political agenda, like the Indian series on Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata in the mid-80s,” said Mubarki