Maduro invites Turkish soap opera producer to work on joint projects

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Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has invited the producer of the Turkish soap opera “Diriliş Ertuğrul,” the favorite show of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to his country in order to work on joint projects, the Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.

Mehmet Bozdağ, the producer and scenarist of “Diriliş Ertuğrul,” shared photos of Maduro holding a flag symbolizing the ethnic roots of the Ottoman Empire that has become popular since it was used in several episodes and claimed that the Venezuelan president admired the soap opera.

“Mr. Maduro will visit our set during his first trip to Turkey. We will also go to Venezuela as soon as possible and discuss joint film projects,” Bozdağ stated.

“Diriliş Ertuğrul,” a reinvention of the Ottoman Empire’s founding era, started in 2014 on public broadcaster TRT 1 and immediately became a phenomenon among ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters. The soap opera was soon exported to Arab and Latin America countries, along with other Turkish TV shows that have become popular in a number of countries.

Even Netflix has added “Diriliş Ertuğrul” to its streaming platform.

In March 2017, while speaking at a “National Culture” conference, President Erdoğan revealed that his grandson had been watching “Diriliş Ertuğrul” with huge enthusiasm. In November of the same year the cast of the show traveled to Qatar with Erdoğan on the presidential plane.

Earlier this year, Erdoğan also suggested that people watch “Payitaht Abdülhamit,” another TRT project, in order to learn their history. This particular show focused on Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamit II, who has recently become a key figure for Turkish Islamists.

In these TV shows, the current political discourse of the government is reproduced in the context of history. In an episode of “Payitaht Abdülhamit,” the sultan slaps the British ambassador of the time after he realizes that the ambassador is plotting against him. It was a perfect reflection of the “foreign powers” rhetoric currently used by government members.

Just like Erdoğan, Venezuelan President Maduro is also using TV as a tool for his politics. He is well known for an hours-long TV show that he hosts.

The two leaders spoke to each other late on Thursday via teleconference, wishing success for the elections they are both about to face. On May 20, the Venezuelan people will go to the polls, while Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24. “June 24 is a historic day for Venezuela as well,” Maduro said.

The two presidents have also signed commercial agreements between their countries.

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