Two statues of Ertugrul Gazi have been put up in Pakistani city of Lahore after the immense popularity of the Turkish drama.

A general view of a statue erected after Turkish TV series 'Dirilis: Ertugrul', in Lahore, Pakistan, June 19, 2020.
A general view of a statue erected after Turkish TV series 'Dirilis: Ertugrul', in Lahore, Pakistan, June 19, 2020. (Reuters)

Residents of the Pakistani city of Lahore have erected statues to commemorate a medieval Turkish leader, a sign of the growing popularity, and cultural impact, of a television series imported from Turkey depicting the origins of the Ottoman Empire.

The TRT series "Ertugrul Gazi" (or Dirilis: Ertugrul, its Turkish name) which ran in Turkey until 2019, is loosely based on the story of a 13th century nomadic Turkic tribal leader who confronted Mongols, Crusaders and Byzantine rulers in what are now Syria and Turkey.

Two statues of Ertugrul have been put up in a residential area of the city.

A statue erected after Turkish TV series 'Dirilis: Ertugrul', in Lahore, Pakistan, June 19, 2020.
A statue erected after Turkish TV series 'Dirilis: Ertugrul', in Lahore, Pakistan, June 19, 2020. (Reuters)

Muhammad Shahzad Cheema, the head of a private housing society, commissioned a likeness of Ertugrul, sword in hand on a rearing horse.

"The statue is a reminder of our love for the Ottoman Sultanate, and the jihad which Ertugrul waged which brought us (Muslims) respect in the whole world," Cheema said.

Over 250 million views

Pakistani broadcaster PTV began airing Urdu-dubbed episodes of the show during Ramadan a few weeks ago, and it has since become the most watched programme ever aired by the outlet.

No television show has been able to stir Pakistan the way Ertugrul Gazi has, PTV Managing Director Aamer Manzoor said.

"People feel that it is the Turkish play of Game of Thrones."

More than 58 million people viewed the first episode on the TRT Ertugrul by PTV YouTube channel in two months, and the entire show has had more than 250 million views, Manzoor said.

READ MORE: What’s behind the Ertugrul craze in Pakistan?

Turkish public television waived royalties for the show.

Cheema told Reuters people were coming “from far and wide” to take selfies with his statue, installed in a square locals plan to rename after Ertugrul.

The show also got a ringing endorsement from Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who said it would help combat "vulgarity" from Hollywood and Bollywood and promote family culture. 

READ MORE: 'Resurrection: Ertugrul' producer pitches for joint projects with Pakistan

Source: Reuters