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Turkish TV Series Threatened by Regulator Over Drunk, Womanizing Sultans

Turkey’s television regulator threatened to yank a new television series for failing to respect the privacy of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 until his death in 1566.

Show TV’s Muhtesem Yuzyil, or “Magnificent Century” violates clauses of Turkish law that prohibit broadcasts “contrary to society’s national and ethical values” and that neglect to show “the necessary sensitivity to the privacy of a historical person,” the Radio and Television Supreme Council, or RTUK, said in a statement today.

“Magnificent Century” is a fictional portrayal of life in the Ottoman royal court at the height of its power. The series has led to record complaints from viewers who complain it shows the Ottoman rulers as prodigious drinkers and womanizers who spent much of their time drunk or frolicking in their harems.

RTUK head Davut Dursun said the weekly show, which first aired on Jan. 5, had already received almost 75,000 complaints, more than the total number of complaints about all media in Turkey last year, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

The regulator ordered Show TV to abide by the law and warned that it had the authority to stop broadcasts if the violations were repeated. The second episode airs tonight.

To contact the reporter on this story: Benjamin Harvey in Ankara at bharvey11@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Bentley at mbentley3@bloomberg.net.

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