12 Best Turkish Historical Series

In the last 10 years, Turkey has become the second exporter of TV series in the world after the United States. Turkish TV shows are very popular with audiences all over the world. The special attention of viewers enjoys the historical genre. What historical TV series in Turkey can rightly be considered the best?

12. Kurt Seyit ve Şura / Kurt Seyit And Shura.

Starring: Kivanç Tatlituğ, Farah Zeynep Abdullah and Fahriye Evcen.

If you don’t want to watch Turkish series about sultans and the creation of an empire, perhaps you will choose the story of a Russian girl and an officer, whose fate is closely intertwined with that of Russia and Turkey. The civil war, the White Guards, emigration, the difference of cultures and religions, and most importantly – the story of love and betrayal await the audience of this unusual series, which was not very popular in Turkey, but was appreciated abroad.

11. Barbaroslar Akdeniz’in Kılıcı / Barbaros: The Sword of the Mediterranean.

Starring: Engin Altan Düzyatan, Ulaş Tuna Astepe, İsmail Filiz, Yetkin Dikinciler, Pelin Akil, Caner Topçu.

The story of the Barbarossa brothers excites the imagination of not only the Turkish, but also the world audience. They are called pirates in the West, and national heroes in the East. In the first season, viewers saw the story of four sailor brothers who, by the will of fate, found themselves at the center of the struggle of the Ottoman Empire for dominance in the Mediterranean. In the second season, we are waiting for a story about the amazing fate of Hizir Hayreddin Barbarossa, who turned from a simple sailor into the “king of the seas”, the admiral of the Turkish fleet and one of the main naval commanders of the Ottoman Empire. Unfortunately, the ambitious project suffers from a lack of high-quality special effects and a not very interesting scenario, but it still remains one of the most significant historical series in Turkey in recent years.

10. Vatanim Sensin  /  Wounded Love.

Starring: Halit Ergenç, Bergüzar Korel, Boran Kuzum, Pinar Deniz, Miray Daner.

A beautiful story of love, self-sacrifice and heroism during the war for independence and the creation of the Turkish Republic. The commander of the Turkish army, Cevded, and his wife, Azize, face a difficult choice as they try to keep the family together and be loyal to their Motherland. The series had modest ratings in Turkey, but is successfully sold and broadcast worldwide.

9. Bir Zamanlar Çukurova / Bitter Lands.

Starring: Hilal Altinbilek, Murat Ünalmış, İbrahim Çelikkol, Uğur Güneş and Vahide Perçin.

Turkish drama about the life of a small town and its inhabitants in the middle of the last century, which lasted 4 seasons and ended with excellent ratings. The series is successfully sold abroad and is one of the “calling cards” of producer Timur Savсi. It is curious that, unlike most Turkish TV series, where male character change the “love of his life”, it was the main heroine Zuleyha who had 3 love stories.

8. Destan / Legend.

Starring: Ebru Şahin, Edip Tepeli, Selim Bayraktar, Burak Tozkoparan, Buse Meral and Deniz Barut.

A historical TV show that takes viewers to the era of the adoption of Islam by Turkic tribes. Unusual characters and the main female character, who does not shed tears in anticipation of a handsome prince, but takes up arms and fights for freedom, sharply distinguish the project of producer Mehmet Bozdag from all other traditional historical shows of Turkish television. Ratings in Turkey are quite average, but given the huge popularity of the lead actress Ebru Şahin, foreign channels and digital platforms are willing to buy the show.

7. Uyanış Büyük Selçuklu / The Great Seljuks: Guardians of Justice.

Starring: Ekin Koç, Buğra Gülsoy, Gürkan Uygun, Sevda Erginci, Mehmet Özgür, Leyla Feray, and İsmail Ege Şaşmaz.

Turkish historical series about the rise of the Seljuk Empire and the reign of Sultan Melikşah, as well as the complex story of his heirs, which unexpectedly ended in the first season, causing a lot of gossip. The rating of the project of producer Emre Konuk was excellent and the only explanation for such an unexpected ending was the controversy on the set. However, Mr. Konuk acted quite unconventionally, presenting a prequel to the story next season.

6. Alparslan: Büyük Selçuklu / Alparslan: The Great Seljuks.

Starring: Bariş Arduç, Fahriye Evcen Özçivit, Mehmet Özgür and Sarp Levendoğlu.

A prequel to the popular TV series The Great Seljuks: Guardians of Justice, which tells the story of Sultan Melikşah’s father, Sultan Alparslan, who won a decisive victory over the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of Malazgirt. The beautiful love story of Alparslan and Akça Hatun further fuels the interest of viewers in the series, which was renewed for the second season.

5. Rise of Empires: Ottoman.

Starring: Tuba Büyüküstün, Cem Yiğit Üzümoğlu, Birkan Sokullu, Ushan Çakir, Damla Sönmez and Selim Bayraktar.

The show produced by the Turkish Netflix interrupted a long series of failures that haunted producers who tried to tell the story of the siege of Constantinople by Sultan Fatih the Conqueror. The docudrama made such a strong impression on the audience that Netflix has already begun filming the sequel of the miniseries, which will be released soon.

4. Yesilçam: Bir Sinema Hayvani / Yesilçam -  Cinema of Turkey.

Starring: Çagatay Ulusoy, Afra Saraçoğlu, Selin Sekerci, Yetkin Dikinciler and Bora Akkaş.

Projects on digital platforms have finally begun to provide Turkish and global viewers with a real alternative to traditional TV series, differing from the latter in higher quality of filming, well-thought-out script and the absence of time stretch. Yesilçam has become the most watched series of the Blu TV digital platform in 2021. Recall that the platform has 5.5 million subscribers and is the leader of the digital market in Turkey. Çağatay Ulusoy plays a film producer who works in the film industry of the 60s of the last century that is known as the Yesilçam era. Spectators will find an unusual love triangle, the story of the creation of Turkish cinema against the backdrop of political instability and spy intrigues, a story of friendship and betrayal, as well as the dirty underside of show business, which remains so until our time.

3. Kuruluş: Osman  /  The Ottoman.

Starring: Burak Özçivit, Nurettin Sönmez, Ragip Savaş, Ayşegül Günay, Özge Törer and Yıldız Çağrı Atiksoy.

The story of the creation of the Ottoman Empire has been exciting the imagination of the audience for 3 seasons and is confidently looking to the future, being one of the most popular series on Turkish air. Burak Özçivit as Osman Gazi certainly gives the project a special shine. The creators are already thinking about a new show that will tell about the life of the second Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Orhan.

2. Muhteşem Yüzyil  /  Magnificent Century.

Starring: Halit Ergenç, Nur Fettahoglu, Meryem Uzerli, Okan Yalabık, Mehmet Günsür, Selim Bayraktar and Burak Özçivit.

The Magnificent Century was one of the first Turkish historical dramas to receive huge recognition internationally. The show has everything: wonderful actors, chic costumes, great direction, a strong script and an incredibly twisted plot that tells about the love of the Sultan and a simple concubine who became his wife and mother of his children. Halit Ergenç as Sultan Suleyman reached the peak of his career.

1. Diriliş: Ertuğrul  /  Resurrection: Ertugrul.

Starring: Engin Altan Düzyatan, Hülya Darcan, Cengiz Coskun, Nurettin Sönmez and Esra Bilgiç.

The undisputed leader among the historical shows of Turkey, which is very popular not only in its homeland, but throughout the world. The events take place in the 13th century, when a small Turkic Kayi tribe, under the leadership of Ertuğrul Ghazi, began the creation of a state formation that would soon become the most powerful empire in Asia and Europe. Engin Altan Düzyatan, thanks to this project, has become one of the most popular and beloved actors in Turkey. Often the series is called the “Turkish Game of Thrones” and this is not only due to the excellent filming, exciting plot and excellent acting, but also thanks to the army of many millions of loyal viewers, which is not inferior to the American competitor.

The Turkish show business is not standing still. In the near future, we are expecting new historical shows both on platforms and on open television.

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