Turkey’s presidency has released a grandiose video celebrating the fall of Constantinople with a slick, CGI-rich production which links the 1453 Ottoman conquest with the rule of present-day leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Also backed by Istanbul City Council, the video depicts popular scenes from the siege of the Byzantine capital, as well as the city’s development under its Ottoman rulers.
It shows the famous Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi – aka the ‘bird man of Galata – who leapt from the Galata Tower to prove people could fly.
The video fast-forwards through Turkish history, showing the building of imperial mosques before switching to the First World War and the Turkish forces in action at Gallipoli.
As giant CGI sultans and Ottoman warriors thunder down the Bosphorus on horseback (and vault the July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge — renamed after the 2016 coup attempt) the scene changes to Tayyip Erdogan waving to vast crowds.
The video demonstrates the huge cultural change which has taken place in Turkish politics, from a time when secular governments from Ataturk onwards played down the country’s imperial past to the present AK Party administration which celebrates Turkey’s Ottoman and Islamic heritage.