A fictional Turkish television series is causing great concern in the Jewish community there with its storylines depicting Theodor Herzl intending to establish a Jewish state extending from the Euphrates to the Nile and a Jew attempting to assassinate Sultan Abdul Hamid II.
The Israeli embassy in Ankara intends to bring these concerns to the Turkish government.
The series about Abdul Hamid II is being broadcast on the television channel TRT. At the time of this article’s writing, only three episodes have been broadcast, but it already has plenty of scenes to worry Jews in Turkey and abroad.
One of the episodes shows a discussion between Herzl (the visionary behind modern Zionism) and his father, who rejects his son’s Zionist ideas and tells him that God did not promise the Land of Israel to the Jews.
Another scene shows a failed attempt to assassinate the sultan, in which the would-be killer holds a pendant with a Star of David in his hand while another Jew runs to murder the ruler, none of which is based in historical reality.
Yet another scene depicts Herzl declaring to the World Jewish Congress his intention to establish a Jewish state. The young man presents his vision for a future flag for the country, which is a hand-drawn version of the Israeli flag, and explains that the two blue stripes represent the Niles and the Euphrates, implying that Israel shall be established on the land between those two rivers.
Herzl is also shown as trying to fool Turkish authorities and use a train intended to bring Muslims to Mecca for the purpose of transporting Jews to the swath of land he has planned for their future state.
(Translated and edited by J. Herzog)