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January 14, 2021

Pak-Turkish cultural diplomacy gets major boost

National

January 14, 2021

Islamabad: The verdant spherical garden of the Turkish Embassy provided just the right ambiance for a joyful celebration of the combined history and values of Turkey and Pakistan with none other than Nurettin Sonmez and Ayberk Pekcan—better known as Bamsi and Artuk Bey as featured in popular Turkish television drama serial ‘Dirilis Ertugrul.’

The artists, who are visiting Pakistan as members of the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s entourage, interacted with select members of the media at a press briefing hosted by Turkish Ambassador Ihsan Mustafa Yurakul and his wife Zlatomira Yurdakul on a sunny winter afternoon here on Wednesday. The Foreign Minister also briefly graced the occasion.

Both the artists expressed their eagerness to promote people-to-people contacts and to foster cultural diplomacy by signing up for collaborative ventures with the film and drama industries of Pakistan. “Even though it is primarily the job of directors and producers in our two countries to formalize such initiatives, and we actors come at the end of the chain, we would still love to join forces with artists in Pakistan to create quality productions,” Nurettin Sonmez said in response to a query.

Referring to ‘Dirilis Ertugrul,’ both Nurettin and Ayberk thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for publicly promoting the serial and particularly persuading youth to watch it to gain familiarity with the glorious Islamic history. “We are proud to have the Prime Minister of Pakistan as our fan,” Nurettin said, and hoped that the serial has inspired young people to brace values that craft great people and great nations. “In those times, peoples’ minds were pure, hearts were filled with ‘emaan’ and love for Allah, and spirits were free. This is where they derived their strength from,” he said, hoping that the warriors of ‘Dirilis Ertugrual’ also similarly inspired young viewers.

The Turkish Foreign Minister also highlighted the importance of being familiar with the true essence of Islam and implementing a fair justice system. “If Muslims could do it back then in the 13th century, there is no reason why we cannot emulate similar values today,” he commented.

The Turkish artists expressed how emotionally overwhelming it is to have a fan following across borders. “The appreciation that we receive from our fans creates an unbreakable bond, which is further strengthened when interactions are promoted at the governmental level,” Nurettin said.

Responding to a query, Ayberk said, ‘Dirilis Ertugrual’ is as popular in Turkey as it is in Pakistan. “It was a signature historical project that no one had produced in the past.

It was a risky project but the resolve of the director, coupled with rigorous trainings and pre-planning, and massive investment in terms of time, collectively contributed to the success of the serial, which became way more popular than expected,” he said. Ayberk added, “Pakistan and Turkey have a combined history. Thanks to our strong ties of brotherhood, we just don’t feel away from home.”

The artists thanked all Pakistanis for their love and sincerity. They were particularly keen to explore Pakistan’s natural beauty, and to this end, expressed interest in producing a travel guide to promote tourism.

Ayberk was keen to visit Lahore, given his penchant for Moghul history. A young Pakistani girl Ramsha Mehmood, who has studied and worked in Turkey, proficiently moderated the event with her exceptional interpretation skills.