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10 Turkish Historical Dramas Worth Watching Next, Ranked


Ever since the beginning of the early-2000s, the world hasn’t been able to get enough of Turkish television dramas. While they might not be as popular yet as their Latin American or East Asian counterparts, audiences have been obsessed with the TV shows and incredible, breathtaking movies coming out of Turkey in the past few decades. And, according to research and data in recent years, the consumption of Turkish dramas has been rapidly growing, outpacing other countries that have been known for their exports of television shows. Turkish, Arabic, and Iranian cinema have been well-known internationally for quite a bit of time, but now’s the moment for their television series.


Despite the length of the episodes — some Turkish shows’ episodes can clock in at over two hours — one of the most popular genres is historical dramas. In fact, many of the biggest series from the region are within this genre, and offer not only romance and period visuals, but a lot of action scenes as well, due to the nature of Turkish history at times.

Whether you’re a beginner in Turkish history, knowing nothing about the region and its culture, or someone who’s well-versed in the genre, these 10 TV historical dramas are definitely worth watching next.


10 Midnight at the Pera Palace (2022)

Netflix

Midnight at the Pera Palace, which came out in 2022 and is one of the many Turkish television shows available to stream on Netflix, begins in the modern day. An orphaned journalist ventures to the Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul, but what she doesn’t realize is that one of the rooms is a portal to the past. In the middle of the night, she’s transported back to 1919, and discovers she is the doppelgänger of a young woman involved with a Turkish revolutionary during that period.

Why It’s Great

Midnight at the Pera Palace is an excellent primer for the world of Turkish historical dramas if one hasn’t ventured into them before. Set within the past hundred years, navigating the impacts of World War I, audiences can easily find themselves sucked into this story. Stream on Netflix

9 Wishing Stone (2023)

A man and woman stalking through a protest.
Pastel Film

A 2023 release, Wishing Stone takes place in the 1980s, when Turkey was in a period of political turmoil and transition. Its focus is on a wealthy family and a man who works in their factories. He has come to them to beg for the salary he had not been paid in months; his wife is sick and in dire need of surgery, and without that money, his family, including his daughter, might not be able to get themselves out of a dire situation.

Why It’s Great

Wishing Stone might be set in a more recent period of Turkish history, making it a more relevant historical drama due to the sheer number of people still alive who witnessed these real events, but it still shows both sides of the socioeconomic situation at the time. With excellent acting, this is a show that’s certainly entertaining.

8 The Magnificent Century (2011)

A Turkish royal family pose in lavish garments.
TIMS Productions

Many Turkish historical dramas feature the adventures that happened in the midst of the Ottoman Empire, including The Magnificent Century. Known as Muhtesem Yüzyil in Turkish, this 2011 series is about Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled over the Ottoman Empire in the 1500s. The show focuses specifically on his relationship with his wife, who would later become the first Ottoman Haseki Sultan, or chief consort of the Sultan.

Why It’s Great

Ottoman period Turkish dramas typically hit a sweet spot, and The Magnificent Century finds the right balance between romance, melodrama, and the elements that skew towards a period piece. Not only is the show interesting in this regard, but it also offers perspectives on gender and culture in quite a unique way as well. Not Currently Available to Stream or Purchase

7 Wounded Love (2016-2018)

The main characters of Wounded Love embrace in a forest.
O3 production

Wounded Love first aired on Turkish television back in the 2010s, bringing the setting of Turkey in the late-1910s and 1920s back onto television screens all over the world. In this historical drama, the main characters are grappling with a major dilemma as portions of Turkey are being occupied by outsiders. Forced to confront the situation in a rapidly changing climate, many different kinds of issues are going to come to the surface throughout the course of the series.

Why It’s Great

There are many different threads to Wounded Love, making this the kind of show highly enjoyable for those looking to tap into the epic storylines that run across two years and seasons. There’s truly something for everyone in Wounded Love. Not Currently Available to Stream or Purchase

6 Kurulus: Osman (2019-Present)

A royal family, comprising a mom and her children, stand regally in front of a crowd.
ATV

Kurulus: Osman first aired in 2019, and continued the massively popular series Diliris: Ertugrul so that audiences could keep seeing their favorites on-screen. This show focuses on the adventures of Osman Ghazi, who would go on to found the legendary Ottoman Empire. As he tries to grapple with control of his newfound territory, new threats and drama appear throughout the series.

Why It’s Great

Osman has been running for five seasons, and that’s because the life of Osman Ghazi is extremely fascinating. With quite a bit that’s present throughout his life to cover across the course of one television show, audiences devour the action that’s packed throughout the course of this television series. Not Currently Available to Stream or Purchase

Related: Why Netflix’s Private Lesson is a Perfect Movie to Get You Into Turkish Dramas

5 The Promise (2019-2022)

A close-up of Özge Yağız and Gökberk Demirci in The Promise
Karamel Yapim

Known in Turkish as Yemin, The Promise has run for several seasons, spanning over 500 episodes over the course of its television run. When a young woman from the countryside is left an orphan after her mother’s death, she has to figure out how to survive from there.

Why It’s Great

The Promise takes some time to find its groove throughout the beginning, but once it finds the pacing that suits its characters, the show takes off running. In a show like this, it becomes impossible to root for the protagonists as more situations pop up on the horizon, inducing some gasps along the way. The Promise will keep you guessing, hence why it has achieved the incredible feat of 500 episodes. Not Currently Available to Stream or Purchase

4 Destan

A man and woman from ancient Central Asia stand side-by-side.
Bozdag Film

While many Turkish historical dramas take place in the Ottoman Empire or the period after it, Destan ventures further back to before Islam was introduced into Turkey. Set in Central Asia, the main characters are left orphans by the constant conflicts happening around the region, as who controls what territory becomes a major point of rifts between rivaling nomads and groups.

Why It’s Great

Destan is a breath of fresh air in the world of Turkish historical dramas because of its unique approach to Turkish history, as well as the fact it goes beyond what other popular dramas have covered before. With excellent acting, visuals, and cinematography, it’s certainly not a drama to be missed in the genre. Not Currently Available to Stream or Purchase

Related: Here Are Some Amazing Middle Eastern Horror Movies

3 The Club (2021-2023)

A woman sits on a wooden bench on the balcony of a humble-looking building.
O3 Medya

Released in 2021, The Club’s main character is in quite a predicament. Set in 1950s Istanbul, Rana is a Jewish woman who has to figure out what to do next. Her daughter, who she has been estranged from, is in trouble, and in order to protect her, she has to become involved with the world of a local club and the people who inhabit it.

Why It’s Great

The setting of 1950s Istanbul really comes alive throughout the course of The Club, and its protagonist’s identity is unique when it comes to representation in Turkish television. Dealing with a diverse set of issues, the show’s execution is stunning throughout and even unfolds like a movie in certain moments and scenes. Stream on Netflix

2 Saladin: The Conquerer of Jerusalem (2023)

Ugur Gunes as Selahaddin Eyyubi in Saladin: The Conqueror of Jerusalem
Akli Film

In the 2023 release, Saladin: The Conquerer of Jerusalem, a unique process has led to quite an incredible television show. Casting its gaze towards Saladin, who once founded the Ayyubid dynasty, his conquest of the holy city of Jerusalem and the ongoing Crusades are documented throughout the course of the television series. With accessible content towards Islamic history, the intent of this show has been stated to help those not familiar with the kinds of history being introduced in it.

Why It’s Great

Saladin is an interesting television show to watch because of its accessible approach. It takes on a topic that many outside of the Islamic and Middle Eastern world might not know about, turning it into a television show that’s not only entertaining, but educational as well. Not Currently Available to Stream or Purchase

1 Dirilis: Ertugrul (2014-2019)

Two men in historic Turkish armor riding white horses.
TRT

When Diliris: Ertugrul was released originally in 2014, it would introduce many more fans around the world to the wonders of Turkish television, especially in the historical drama genre. Ertugrul, a real person who existed outside of the conventions of a television show, lived in the steppes of Central Asia, and would struggle to unite the lands. Later, he would give birth to a son who would do exactly that.

Why It’s Great

Diliris: Ertugrul might be controversial across the Islamic world due to its content, but it certainly makes for good television. Although it might take creative liberties at times, this is a series that’s epic in its scope, choosing to pull out a flair for drama in order to make a bold statement. Not Currently Available to Stream or Purchase



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