The Turkish television drama series Payitaht: Abdülhamid (roughly, "Sultan Abdulhamid") began airing on February 24, 2017, on the Turkish state-owned TRT 1 television channel. The series comprised 17 episodes; the final episode aired June 23. According to the TRT 1 website, the series, which is set in the period from 1896 to 1909, aims to show "within the framework of the events of the last 13 years of the period of Sultan Abdülhamid II, while the Western states seek to design a 'new century' for themselves... the story of the valiant man [i.e. the sultan himself] who stands against them." One alleged plot against the sultan that is depicted in the series is that of Theodor Herzl, and of Jews in general, is their pursuit of the establishment of the state of Israel, and their scheming, deception, and cruelty in attempting to achieve this end. In the series, a ruthless Christian priest-turned-assassin, Hiram, helps Herzl stir up revolt in Istanbul, and British spies pose as Arabs in an attempted false-flag attack against Jews, planned by Herzl.
Turkish news outlets have published numerous articles explaining historical inaccuracies in the series, pointing out errors regarding such fine points as the pronunciation of certain Ottoman Turkish words, Ottoman ceremonies and the music that accompanied them, and how Ottoman sultans ate their meals. Such discussions demonstrate the seriousness with which the series was understood as history by the Turkish public.
The state-owned TRT 1 television network belongs to the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, which, according to a 2014 report, received approximately 95 percent of its funding from the Turkish government and the remaining 5 percent from advertising that year. TRT 1 is not only a state-owned channel; it was the first television channel in Turkey, having been founded in 1968, and was the only channel in the country until 1986.
The following are clips from a few of the 17 episodes of Payitaht: Abdülhamid.
Theodor Herzl Kidnaps His Father, Locks Him In A Dungeon, And Details A Plot To Transfer Jews to Palestine – Clip No. 6035, February 24, 2017
The clip below is taken from the first episode of the series. In this episode, viewers learn that Herzl has kidnapped his father, Jakob Herzl – who, according to the series, is the real author of Herzl the younger's well-known book The Jewish State – no longer supports his son's designs. Thus, Jakob finds himself shackled to a bed in his Vienna basement-turned-dungeon. The menorah-lit basement is also used by Theodor for prayers and religious rites. Theodor reveals, in a conversation with his captive father, his plan to divert the Hijaz railway, that runs from Damascus, Syria to Medina, Saudi Arabia, to transport European Jews to Palestine.
Theodor Herzl Calculates Jewish Gold As Part Of His Schemes – Clip No. 6037, March 3, 2017
In this clip, from Episode 2, Herzl meets with a Jewish femme fatale named Sara and calculates that the wealth of four rich Jewish families "equals half of the world's riches." Sara encourages his plans.
Herzl Rises To Power, States Goal: A Jewish State From The Nile To The Euphrates – Clip No. 6038, March 10, 2017
Taken from the third episode, this clip shows Herzl, who has by now schemed his way to the Zionist leadership, laying out his ultimate goal: establishing a Jewish state from the Nile to the Euphrates. In a Hitler-style address to a gathering of Vienna Jews, he paints the flag of the new state, adding two blue lines to symbolize the two rivers
Herzl Conspires With Christian Priest To Assassinate Notables And Incite Population – Clip No. 6039, March 31, 2017
This clip shows Herzl, who has moved to Istanbul to monitor his schemes up close, conspiring with the Christian priest Hiram to draw up a hit list of notable figures in the local community whose murder will incite the population against the sultan. Hiram, who lost an eye helping Herzl in a previous scheme to blow up a train, tells Herzl about growing up in the Vatican and becoming a professional assassin. Hiram then murders the people on the hit list, carving a cross into the forehead of each of his victims. One, the imam of the mosque, refuses to accede to Hiram's demand that he kiss the latter's cross before dying.
Herzl Sends British Spies To Kidnap And Kill Jews In Jerusalem In Order To Drum Up Support For His Zionist Agenda – Clip No. 6052, March 31 to April 7, 2017
In this clip, Herzl devises a plot to send British spies disguised as Arabs to kidnap and kill a group of Jews in Jerusalem, thus inspiring all the Jews to support his Zionist agenda. However, the plot is thwarted by the sultan, who dispatches his son to save the Jewish hostages. The British spies who kidnap the Jews are recognizable by their moustaches.
Herzl Celebrates Purim In Istanbul, Gets Mugged, And Learns A Lesson In Jewish Scheming From Co-Conspirator Emanuel Carasso – Clip No. 6053, March 31 to April 7, 2017
In this clip, Theodor Herzl and his co-conspirator, Emanuel Carasso, attorney and scion of the prominent Sephardic Jewish family of Salonica, celebrate Purim in Istanbul, as Herzl's plot to kidnap and kill Jews in Palestine unfolds. Later, Herzl and Carasso are mugged in the street, and Carasso manages to contain the situation, teaching Herzl a lesson in Jewish scheming.