A Turkish TV blockbuster reveals Erdogan’s conspiratorial, anti-Semitic worldview
By Aykan Erdemir and Oren Kessler
“The Last Emperor” is Turkey’s newest television blockbuster, consistently rating among Turkey’s top dramas since its February premiere. Every Friday night, 1 in 10 viewers tunes in to relive the last years of Abdulhamid II — an absolutist, pan-Islamist Ottoman sultan who resisted the secular-reformist Young Turk movement until it finally overthrew him in 1909. The series, airing on state television in three-hour episodes, promotes a worldview uncannily similar to that of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan: A free press, secularism and democracy are the work of foreign powers, religious minorities and godless liberals, and ultimately serve to erode national identity, honor and security.
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