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What is the Turkish television series about Sultan Suleyman?

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Quick Answer

"Magnificent Century" is a television series based on the ruling era of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Sultan Suleyman's reign was the longest of the Ottoman Empire.

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The show first aired in 2011 and has been breaking records in Turkish television since, as of August 2015. Unusual by American standards, the weekly broadcast is 90 minutes long. While Suleyman is famous for creating comprehensive legal code and expanding the Ottoman Empire, the show is less about the political and strategic genius of the leader. Instead, it is largely dedicated to the drama and machinations of a large and sumptuous court and follows the entanglements and intrigues of Sultan Suleyman's female family members, large harem, children and advisers.

The television show has gained a vast number of followers in Turkey. "The New Yorker" reported that when the show airs on Turkish television every Wednesday night, more than a third of all viewers are waiting to watch. Not everyone is a fan, however; "The New Yorker" reported that the Prime Minister of Turkey has publicly spoken against the show and made subtle threats towards the directors of the show and the broadcasters who air it. Conservative citizens have taken offense to the depiction of Sultan Suleyman's considerable time spent in his harem, the suggestion he is drinking alcohol and the provocative dress of the harem's occupants.

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