Turkey's 'The Bride of Istanbul' on Israeli TV

People tend to laugh to themselves and say, "Oh, you wouldn't believe it when meeting me, but I watch The Bride from Istanbul."

By MEIR UZIEL/MAARIV
March 30, 2019 21:19
3 minute read.
Turkey's 'The Bride of Istanbul' on Israeli TV

Khazar. (photo credit: )

 
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I read, to my great pleasure, an Italian comic book. A graphic novel. Not for the literature section per se, but interesting, and at a level of Italian that I'm capable of understanding. The story follows a pattern that we already saw in Raiders of the Lost Arch: Nazis are trying to gain control of a Jewish item with magical powers. This time it wasn't the Ark of the Covenant but rather Herod's crown.

In one of the drawings, I suddenly see a conversation in Hebrew. "What are you doing here?" I ask the Hebrew letters, but I also laugh to myself. The villain of the story, a Nazi, is in the castle of a banker in Switzerland. He has a Jewish servant. The Nazi utters something in Hebrew, and he says it in Hebrew lettering which are written in a speech bubble coming out of his mouth: Rat sewer, hello.

I immediately understood what had happened: the painter-writer, Gigi Simoni, found the correct Hebrew sentence, but the order of the words changed in print. It happens all the time on computers. Everyone in Israel has seen the nutritional information on food packaging with the Hebrew letters backwards or even mirrored. It even happens in tattoos. Our language drives computers crazy. Under the photo is a footnote with the translation in Italian. This translation showed the (awful) meaning, which you probably understood: Hello, sewer rat.

Well, next time someone draws a graphic novel in the world, I volunteer to proofread the Hebrew.

And what about Turkish television?

Everyone talks about The Bride from Istanbul. People tend to laugh to themselves and say, "Oh, you wouldn't believe it when meeting me, but I watch The Bride from Istanbul."

Recently, a series called The Bride from Istanbul has even appeared in Israeli homes. I haven't watched or even peeked. I did see a different Turkish show, however, which was very interesting, called Resurrection, or "Ertuğrul." It is a long show that extends over 157 episodes on Netflix.

I do not know how I began to watch it, it's hard for me to understand how I got my wife to join me in watching, but we both got caught up in it. It is a show about a real character from Turkish history, a man named Ertuğrul, a figure with many missing historical facts about him. We know that he was the father of Ottoman I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire.


At the time in which the plot takes place, 1200 AD, he was just a warrior in his tribe, a wandering tribe of Turkish nations that moved southwards from the Russian steppes and today's Ukraine out of fear of the Mongols. These tribes did not yet reach the place we call Turkey today, which was still controlled then by Christians on one side and Muslims on the other.

Erdogan will not be as mad at me as he was with Yair Netanyahu if I mention that at the time, Istanbul was still Constantinople, the capitol of the Byzantium. That's how the world map is presented on the show.

On the Circassian site in Hebrew, it says, "Beyond the historical drama of a tribal society and its struggles for survival and coping with dangers and challenges from the inside as well as the outside, the show has a bit of everything: tension and action and many a sword fight, comedy scenes and, of course, romance. But more importantly, it is a story with educational messages of basic Islamic principles, and if our children are already watching Game of Thrones and Vikings, we have here an educational alternative."

The same site contains quite a bit of criticism, as well. "The series strengthens the culture of Islamic victories and calls for the religion of Allah, and exposes the Crusader designs and methods of warfare."

When I began watching the show, I had to adapt to the form of Turkish cinematic expression, but I overcame all the difficulties of adjustment quickly as soon as I saw the dormitories where Ertuğrul's tribe lived. What I saw was the same kind of thick, round tent in which the people lived. Our brothers lived in tents like that, as did our ancestors, the Khazars.

There's so much going on around us in the Middle East now, and so much has happened in the past, and we get only a few drops of it, which sometimes hit us.

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