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Is Turkey's 'Magnificent Century' A Threat or Asset?

How Turkey's "Magnificent Century" soap opera, depicting the life and times of an Ottoman sultan, has managed to draw both fans and critics from the country's neighbors. 
A billboard advertising the TV series "The Magnificent Century" is seen after being damaged by eggs thrown by pro-Islamic protesters in Istanbul January 9, 2011. A steamy television period drama about a 16th century sultan has angered conservative Muslims in Turkey and sparked a debate over the portrayal of the past in a country rediscovering its Ottoman heritage. "The Magnificent Century" chronicles the life of Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled the Ottoman Empire during its golden age, showing a young an

If you know anything about Turkey, you’ve surely heard of the country’s famous soap opera, "Magnificent Century,"  which portrays the life and times of Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (1494-1566). The show, despite its controversial nature, is so popular that even the Chinese have set their eyes on it. It was confirmed in June 2013 that “Magnificent Century” will soon be broadcast on China’s CCTV, Italy’s Babel and Lithuania’s LNK. These new outlets mean the show’s audience will span across 48 territories, reaching more than 200 million viewers.

The soap opera is based on the life of Suleiman the Magnificent, the longest-reigning sultan of the Ottoman Empire. During his reign, between 1520 and 1566, the empire reached the height of its power. Yet, the problems with the show, labeled by The New York Times, as “a sort of Ottoman-era ‘Sex and the City,’” arose from the focus on Suleiman’s joie de vivre and harem heartaches, instead of emphasizing his battlefield successes.

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