Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the country’s youth can learn ‘Islamic values’ by watching the Turkish series “Dirilis: Ertugrul”, known as “Resurrection: Ertugrul” in English.
The 150-episode series was first shown in Pakistan on Saturday evening, the first night of Ramadan in the country, and is set to be broadcast throughout the month.
Khan called the series “interesting” when speaking to reporters in Islamabad, and blamed Western and Bollywood films for diluting Pakistani culture.
“Culture goes from Hollywood to Bollywood and then here… a third-hand culture gets promoted this way… it is badly affecting our children,” Khan said.
“I want our children and youth to know what the difference is about our culture. It also has romance, history,” adding, “[the show] has Islamic values.”
The series, which has often been described as a Turkish “Game of Thrones”, takes place in 13th century Anatolia, prior to the establishment of the Ottoman Empire.
The story follows the struggle of Ertugrul Gazi, who’s descendants went on to rule the Ottoman Empire as it expanded across Anatolia and Thrace, the New Arab reported.
Khan hopes the series will show viewers there is “another way and style of life laced with values”.
“It directly impacts our family system… remember, the family system collapses when immorality rises in the society,” the prime minister added.
Shortly after the 45-minute pilot episode was aired, #ErtugrulUrduPTV was trending on Twitter in Pakistan, with viewers praising the decision to broadcast the series.
Anadolu Agency reported, state-run Pakistan TV (PTV) started dubbing the series in Urdu after Khan visited Turkey last year and praised the historical show.
“Dirilis: Ertugrul” is not the only Turkish series with a huge following in Pakistan, however. Several other shows, including “Kosem Sultan” and “Muhtesem Yuzyıl” – in English, “Magnificent Century” – have been popularised in the country.
In September last year, Turkey, Pakistan and Malaysia agreed to jointly fight the global rise in Islamophobia, in a trilateral meeting in the southern Pakistani city of Karachi.
Part of the effort included establishing a joint English language television channel dedicated to confronting challenges posed by Islamophobia and to broadcast shows on Muslim heroes.
At the time, Khan tweeted that the new channel would be dedicated to “setting the record straight on our great religion – Islam”.
Adding that, “series and films would be produced on Muslim history to educate/inform our own people and the world; Muslims would be given a dedicated media presence.”