The Chronological Disparity Between
Two Stereotypes of the Ottoman History

Arab Drama Was


by the Presence of
"Turkish” Drama

Recently, Turkish drama has been in intense conflict with Arab drama over a limited period of time. Where Turkish drama became active in the post 2000s period by invading Arab television with its dubbed masterpieces, which created a stereotype that is consistent with the political approach. Contrarily, the Arab-Egyptian drama began to show the true stereotype of Turkish Ottomans through a dramatic set of works. However, since the Arab actions were almost decades earlier, that made them out of the mind of Arab audience in light of the presence of Turkish drama. 

The Egyptian art critic, Rami El-Metwally, says about that: “With the beginning of the age of satellite televisions and the openness to different cultures, the preferences of viewers and audience of television drama have changed; from Mexican drama to Spanish drama , then Turkish and Indian dramas, yet the greatest impact was by the dubbed Turkish drama into Arabic, which has been very widespread and Popular at the beginning as a romantic social drama and then by its historical and political series; the most notably one was “Valley of the Wolves” with its several series, which glorified the Turkish security and intelligence services, as well as the heads of organized crime who are the major powers in the Turkish sphere”; furthermore, he asserts that the Turkish drama has become a propaganda trumpet for current Turkish President, Erdogan, and his ambitions to the resources of the Arab region, and emulating his dreams of the return of the Turkish, so called, Islamic caliphate.

The Egyptian critic Rami El-Metwally: “The Kingdoms of Fire" exposed Ottoman massacres against Arabs.

Moreover, Al-Metwally argues that Turkish dramas and series have become an essential arm for the Turkish regime that seeks to glorify the early founders of the Ottoman State, whether Ertgerl or Salim I, and it gave them legendary traits, as well as was the same with the last of the Ottoman sultans, Abd al-Hamid II. Also, he states that “All of these series present them on the screen as some angels and human beings that possess human qualities, administer justice and they were not abuse, yet defend themselves; in contrast, these matters were irrelevant to the reality. In the end, they were occupation forces; thus, the title of Caliph of the Muslims and Prince of the Faithful was just a usurped title that held by the ripper Salim I after his occupation to Egypt; and the abdication of the title by the Abbasid Caliph, who was living in Egypt for a fictitious position”. 

On the other hand, Arab drama was dealing with what is Ottoman and Turkish with a lot of contempt. Where the Turkish and Ottoman characters in the Arab series were mostly negative characters with cruel, violent and unjust behavior. Therefore, the critic, Rami El-Metwally, points out that “that character was usually portrayed as a rough person that walking and holding a whip, speaking a broken language and pronouncing Arabic in a funny way; as the Turk image in the Arab drama is a stereotype that shows evil and injustice; so the Turkish title Pasha became notorious and an indicative of corruption”.

In addition, Rami El-Metwally mentioned that one of the first Arab drama works that addressed the Turkish character in the drama was the Egyptian series “Marid Al-Jabal” i. e. the defiant of mountain, about which he says that: “One of the first works that addressed the Ottoman occupation, where it was presented in (1977 AD), directed by Noor El-Demerdash and the scenario of Sannia Qara’a; and starring of a vast number of stars, including Noor el Sherif, who was the young man that was fighting for freedom and holed up in the mountain adjacent to his village in Upper Egypt. Where the events of the series take place in the period involving the conflict between the Ottoman governor, Ali Bek al-Kabir that his role in the series was presented by Ahmed Maher and the people of the village along with their Sheikh. Because of the injustice inflicted on Ahmed bin Shabib (Noor el Sharif) by his rival, Rawas (Mustafa Mutuali), for the love of Zeina (Leila Hamada); Ahmed became one of the wanted persons that fled to the mountain and he revolted against all of the unjust conditions, including the Turks and the oppressors of his village”.
He adds that, “According to the popular biography in drama, that Arab stereotype towards the Turks was repeated in the “Ali Al-Zeebaq” series, in 1985, as the character of “Ali” was presented by Farouk Al-Fishawi and his two rivals; Lieutenant Colonel Sanqur Al-Kalbi (Abu Bakr Ezzat) and Lieutenant-Colonel Dalila (Laila Fawzy); it was about a struggle mainly was between the protagonist and the Turkish Mamelukes, while the Ottoman State was totally absent, as it was sending a Wali, i. e. governor, or was sending a fireman, i.e. resolution without any actual presence as an occupier”. Here, he emphasizes that the drama has rectified this historical reality by placing the Turkish image in its realistic place as an occupier and colonizer of the Arab region for centuries.

The drama works that were time-barred have paved the way for "Turkish” drama to establish its image in the Arab mind.

Further, El-Metwally traced the stereotype of Turks in the Egyptian drama: “The 1990s period witnessed television dramas that clearly portrayed the Ottoman State as an occupier, and that was the cause of the demolition of Cairo as an instance through murder, torture and theft of its human resources and manpower. In addition to the “Arabesque” series (in 1994 AD) as in its first episode presented the Arabesque artist Hassan Al-Nu`mani, the grandfather, who made for the Ottoman Sultan his throne as a masterpiece. “Hassan” was one of the skilled craftsmen who were taken by the forces of the Othman family to the capital, Astana, to work there as craftsmen, while Cairo was remained without its skilled workers and the elders of its craftsmen, as this is a clear condemnation to the Ottoman occupier by the screenwriter, Osama Anwar Okasha, in (1995 AD), “Al-Zaini Barakat” series was presented, and it addressed the period before the Ottoman occupation. The screenwriter, “Muhammad al-Sayed Eid”, showed, through Gamal Al-Ghitani’s novel of the same title, the treachery that led the Ottomans to occupy Egypt. Sultan Tuman Bey (Riyadh Al-Khouly) presented as a national hero who led the army to resist the occupation; however, the betrayal of many persons, including “al Zaini Barakat” (Ahmed Badir), paved the way for the Ottomans to enter Egypt on the account of the resistance”. 

In conclusion, Rami said that: “However, the most significant series that exposed the Ottomans, their massacres and their dirty works in the region and Egypt was by “The Kingdoms of Fire” series that was presented in the year of (2019 AD). That series highlighted the bloody and occupation of Salim I, his lies and attempts to present his occupation to Egypt and the Levant as an Islamic conquest. As the series addressed a parallel presentation of the rise of Salim and Toman Bey to power, their paths to the throne, and their personal characters based on a lot of historical sources. Therefore, it presented clearly what the Ottoman State did, through the series, and what it did to destroy Egypt and caused to bring it to the ages of ignorance and underdevelopment. It used the sword against everyone, imposed taxes and jizya and did not care for any development due to a weakness that appeared as a power of its rulers; as they were concerned of conspiracies, on the account of their care for the countries that they occupied”.