Saudi's MBC launching new drama series ‘exposing Ottoman tyranny’

Saudi-owned television network MBC is preparing to air a drama series, which “exposes the tyranny of the Ottomans and their bloody history,’’ the Saudi Gazette reported on Monday.

Titled “Kingdoms of Fire” (Mamlakaat Al-Nar), the series depicts the early 16th century demise of the Mamluk state at the hands of the Ottoman Empire and is set to debut on Nov. 17, it said. 

This is not the first of television wars between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, whose soap operas have soared in popularity throughout the Arab world.

The largest Middle East satellite network last year announced it was pulling the plug on all Turkish soap operas amid soaring tensions between Ankara and Riyadh.

The move followed a regional crisis in which Saudi Arabia and its allies imposed a blockade on Turkey’s regional ally Qatar. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dispatched emergency food supplies and troops to the country while committing to expanding Turkey’s military presence there. 

Lauding the series as “the largest drama project in the Arab World in 2019,” the Saudi Gazette said Mamlakaat Al-Nar would boast “dazzling visual effects, heavy battles, interlocking stories and composite characters.”

“We are proud to announce the serial #Mamlakaat Al-Nar, which we hope to start a new phase in the Arab drama, and proud to begin its broadcast on MBC” it quoted the show’s producer, Yasir Harib, as saying.

British Director Peter Weber, whose resume includes “Girl with a Pearl Earring” and “Hannibal Rising,” will be at the helm of the project.