Producer Timur Savci knows a good story when he sees one.

In 2009, Savci was sent by his mentor and collaborator, the late respected screenwriter Meral Okay, the draft for a script on a legendary Ottoman sultan. By the time he had finished reading it at 2 a.m., “I knew we had a project that had vast international potential even on paper,” Savci told Nikkei Asia.

The rest is entertainment history. “Magnificent Century,” the epic Turkish drama narrating the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent and featuring memorable characters like his beloved concubine-turned-wife Hurrem, has so far been viewed by 500 million people around the world and acted as the trailblazer for other dizi, which literally means “sequence” or “series” in Turkish but is also used to refer to the unique genre of Turkish drama.

Since then, these shows have been subtitled, dubbed, adapted or exported to more than 150 countries, including Japan, where “Magnificent Century” became the first dizi ever sold.

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