Mehmet Bozdag is a 38-year-old Turkish screenwriter, director and producer. He has become tremendously well-known after producing the widely-celebrated series Ertugrul. Bozdag pays attention to the smallest details in his productions, including the actors' costumes and the shooting location.
At a time when Egyptian drama producers avoided producing series with historical and religious themes, and when Saudi stars such as Nasser Al-Qasabi starred in series like Mamnou Al Tajawol, which repeatedly caused religious offence, we discover Bozdag, who creatively presents a drama aiming to promote a strong sense of belonging to Islam and offers national and religious content to the audience. Bozdag's series details the lives of Ertugrul, father of the Ottoman Empire's founder, Osman I, Yunus Emre, Kut Al-Amara and Jalal ad-Din Khwarazm-Shah.
On the other hand, Bozdag is also preparing for the upcoming return of Turkish actor Engin Altan, the hero of the Ertugrul series, to star in a series recounting the heroic stories of the famous sailor Hayreddin Barbarossa.
In addition to this, Bozdag presents to the audience, alongside famous Turkish drama stars, new actors such as Celal Al, who played the Ottoman leader Abdurrahman Gazi. In his final scene in one of the episodes of the Kurulus Osman series, Celal Al said that the character of the hero Abdurrahman Gazi has a very particular significance in his life, explaining that he had tried his best to embody the character during the last seven years. He stressed the historical importance of the heroic ancestors and invited the audience to: "Visit the tomb of Abdurrahman Gazi and others who have an important historical significance in the history of the Turkish people."
In December 2019, Anadolu Agency reported a Mexican couple declaring themselves converts to Islam before Celal Al, after attending a Muslim World League programme session in Los Angeles, during which the actor was guest of honour. The couple expressed how much the Ertugrul series influenced their perspectives on life.
Ertugrul has achieved revenues of over $1 billion after approximately three billion people worldwide watched the series, which was translated into 39 languages and is currently broadcast on Netflix. As well as all of this, there are the human and moral values embodied in the dramatic masterpiece.
The main character in Ertugrul, Engin Altan, is almost the highest-paid actor in Turkey, receiving 150,000 Turkish liras (about $20,000) for shooting one episode alone, according to Sayidaty magazine. This brings him close to earning as much as actors like Kivanc Tatlitug and Halit Ergenc, who receive $25,000 for shooting one episode.
Ertugrul embodies high ethical standards without the inclusion of vulgar scenes. It achieved vast financial profits, creating prominent celebrities while dispelling the myth that ethics and art cannot meet in the same work.
There is no consolation for the actors who sold their souls to the repressive authorities ruling their countries, elevated by their praise while blindly repeating the regimes' lies like parrots.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.