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Turkish TV warned over drinking, womanizing sultans

Failed to respect privacy of sultan Suleiman the Magnificent

Turkey's television watchdog on Wednesday gave an official warning to a private channel after thousands complained that it was portraying the country's Ottoman-era sultans as drinkers and womanizers.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) said in a statement that Show TV had failed to respect the privacy of sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566.

The agency said the channel should publicly apologize for having violated "the privacy of a historical person" in its program "Magnificent Century", a fictional portrayal of the sultan's life and his royal court at the height of Ottoman rule.

The agency's head, Davut Dursun, said 75,000 people had complained to the RTUK since the program was first broadcast on January 5 over its portrayal of Ottoman rulers drinking alcohol and chasing after women.

The RTUK has the power to censor the program if the channel ignores the warning in its second episode, which is due to air Wednesday.