Netflix has revolutionized how people engage with media.
Gone are the days of waiting anxiously for the next episode of your favorite show. Gone, too, is the frustrating need to rearrange your life around when episodes air. Perhaps best of all, Netflix has mostly eradicated the old boundaries that determined what viewers had access to.
Nowadays, shows from across the globe are available at the click of a mouse. Top Netflix shows hail from every corner of the world. Check out these hit shows set in or featuring Turkey before traveling over to experience it for yourself.
1. Midnight at the Pera Palace
Starring Hazal Kaya, Selahattin Pasali, and Tansu Bicer, the series is adapted from Charles King’s book “Midnight At The Pera Palace.” The series is about a young journalist assigned to write an article about the Pera Palace Hotel in 2022, trying to prevent a political conspiracy against Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.
The story of Pera Palace Hotel began at the end of the 19th century. When Orient Express started its Paris-Istanbul flights in 1888, no hotel in Istanbul could offer the high standards that Orient Express passengers were used to. This gap was filled by the Pera Palace Hotel, whose founding works were started in 1892, and the opening ball was held in 1895. The hotel is located in the Tepebasi area of Pera, known as ‘little Europe’ due to its cultural and social activities, with a magnificent view of the Golden Horn.
La Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits et des Grands Express Européens, the owner of Orient Express at that time, established its own operating company in 1896 and took the semi-ownership of the Pera Palace Hotel, designed by Levantine architect Alexandre Vallaury. The hotel had a very bright period until the First World War.
Pera Palace has hosted Mustafa Kemal Ataturk many times since 1917. Room 101, which he used as his home on his return to the front, where he made important decisions for the country and hosted his senior guests, was turned into a museum room in 1981, the 100th anniversary of his birth. Ataturk’s personal belongings are also exhibited.
2. The Gift
If you’re looking for a female-centric show, look no further than The Gift. Atiye is a painter, happily living in Istanbul with her partner Ozan. Then archaeologists uncover the oldest temple in existence at Gobeklitepe.
The temple reveals an ancient symbol connected to Atiye’s life. The symbol sets her on a path of self-discovery, irrevocably altering her formerly quiet world. The painter plunges into the unknown, grappling with past, present, and future in her search for answers.
Dark and beautiful, The Gift takes viewers across Turkey with scenes set in Istanbul, Gobeklitepe, Nemrut, and Anatolia. It stars Beren Saat, Mehmet Gunsur, Melisa Senolsun, and Metin Akdulger. Viewers may recognize Saat from global tv sensation “Fatmagul.”
The show is produced by lauded producer Alex Sutherland, who also produces The Protector. Now in its second season, the show is rated an impressive 7.7 out of 10 by reviewers. Full of mystery, supernatural happenings, and spiritual themes, it is a wonderful ride.
3. The Club
In the cosmopolitan Istanbul of the 1950s, a mother starts working at a nightclub to reconnect with her rebellious daughter, whom she couldn’t raise because of her troubled past.
Matilda, an ex-prisoner, works in one of the most elegant nightclubs of 1955. Unfortunately, Matilda’s daughter, Rachel, is unaware of her existence until she is released from prison. Trying to establish a good relationship with her daughter, Matilda tries to keep Rasel away from Pera’s taxi driver, Fistik Ismet.
Matilda also tries to fight the egos of her boss Orhan, nightclub manager Celebi and artist Selim. Matilda, who adds a different spirit to the environment when she sets foot in the club, turns the club, which is hell for employees, into a home.
The Club series, screened in 6 episodes on Netflix and featuring Sephardic Jews living in Istanbul Galata, also created excitement among Jews in Turkey. With this production, Jews, who mostly live in Istanbul, became “visible” in their own words for the first time.
Again with this series, large segments of society living in Turkey met Ladino, which UNESCO has designated as an endangered language. Moreover, the use of Ladino in the series is described as close to perfection.
4. The Protector
Hakan is an ordinary young man with big dreams. He’s working at his father’s antique store and dreaming of better things when the unthinkable happens. Overnight, Hakan finds himself thrown into a world he could never have imagined.
Suddenly armed with extraordinary powers he’s only beginning to understand, Hakan joins an ancient secret society charged with protecting Istanbul from an old evil. With his city under threat, Hakan has to make new friends and learn new skills fast if he wants to survive.
The Protector is an engaging blend of mystery, action, and fantasy. Its fast-paced plot development drags viewers in from the first episode and never let’s go. Watch one episode, and you’ll quickly see why it’s becoming one of the most-watched shows on Netflix related to Turkey.
Now in its third season, the show stars Cagatay Ulusoy and Ayca Aysin Turan. Both turn in evocative performances. The show is deftly produced by experienced producers Jason George and Alex Sutherland.
Then, of course, there is Istanbul. The gorgeous city features heavily enough in the show that it is almost its character.
The show gets a solid seven-out-of-ten star from reviewers. It’s a can’t-miss for anyone intrigued by the clash of modern life and deep history that Instanbul offers.
5. Love 101
In 1990s Turkey, a group of ostracized teenagers joined hands to make their beloved teacher fall in love with someone, so she had a reason to stay with them. The story, which focuses on a group of 17-year-old rebellious teenagers who plan to keep their favorite teacher in school to continue school, focuses on the young people’s discovery of the love process.
In the series, which will take place in 1998, when the young people set out to make their teacher fall in love with the new basketball coach, they start to discover love themselves, and on this journey, they realize that they are strong when they are together, but that love cannot be forced into existence.
6. Dirilis: Ertugrul
For travelers fascinated by Turkey’s rich history, there’s no better show than Dirilis: Ertugrul. Sgt in the 13th century, the show captures the tumultuous era just before the rise of the Ottoman Empire. An epic adventure-drama, the show follows a brave Turkish warrior, Ertugrul, who will be the father of the man who founds the Empire.
Crusaders and Knights Templar clash with Byzantines and Mongols. Caught in the middle, Ertugrul fights for love and hope under the heavy mantle of destiny.
Based on real people and events, the show ranks among the best tv series on Netflix. It doesn’t shy away from the historical clashes between Christianity and Islam, but it shines a new light on them through the lens of Turkey’s ancient nomadic tribes.
Profoundly spiritual and moving, the show deals with themes of oppression, honor, love, betrayal, family, and tradition.
Dirilis: Ertugrul is an ideal choice for viewers who want to sink deeply into Turkey’s history. Five seasons long, the show has more than 424 episodes and earns an impressive 7.6 out of 10 stars. Given that the show deals with a particularly bloody period of history, however, viewer discretion is advised.
The show’s sequel, Kurulus: Osman, follows Ertugrul’s son Osman and is now in its second season.
7. Magnificent Century
Magnificent Century has been trending on Netflix since it was first added in 2017. Its lavish sets and costuming quickly earned it a worldwide following.
Much like Showtime’s The Tudors, Magnificent Century follows a real historical family. In many respects, it even remains remarkably true to historical personages and events.
The show is set during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire between 1520 and 1566. In addition to following Suleiman himself, the show focuses on his wives, children, and other family and the complex relationships between them.
Of particular interest to viewers is the competition between the Sultan’s wives. The first is the mother of his legal heir. The second is a slave girl turned queen who captured the Sultan’s heart.
The show is primarily set in the lush Topkapi Palace but ranges across the Turkish landscape. It ran for four seasons, racking up more than 163 episodes. It’s a perfect indulgence to keep you company over a long, cold winter or during an extended planning period leading up to your Turkish adventure.
8. Rise of Empires: Ottoman
If you like documentaries and educational history shows, you’ll love the Rise of Empires. The show chronicles Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II’s rise to power, from his siege of Constantinople onward.
Producers use a combination of narration, reenactment, and explanations by historical authorities to bring this incredible period in history to vivid life. Splitting time between Mehmet II’s personal life and his military campaigns, the show is particularly popular among fans of ancient warfare and military and political strategy.
Currently, the show has only one season and a total of six episodes. This makes it a great choice for viewers looking to binge-watch without substantial commitment.
9. Winter Sun
After witnessing his father’s murder, young Efe is ripped from his life. With no memory of who he is, he is raised to a simple life in a fishing village. When his memories return as an adult, Efe sets out to reconnect with his twin, Mete.
But his father’s murders can’t risk Efe remembering and exposing them. When they try to assassinate him, however, they accidentally kill Mete instead. Now Efe has to step into his brother’s high-profile shoes.
Pretending to Mete, Efe tries to stay alive and protect his father’s company while dealing with his feelings for his brother’s widow, the beautiful woman who had once been his childhood sweetheart.
Starring Sukru Ozyildiz, Asli Enver, and Basak Parlak, Winter Sun ran for two seasons and has a total of 18 episodes.
10. 20 Minutes
Part family drama and part murder mystery, 20 Minutes is the story of a loving family whose world is torn apart by false accusations.
Pastry chef and loving wife and mother Melek are jailed by authorities who believe she tried to murder the son of a powerful former Mayor. Her husband Ali, an absent-minded academic, struggles to hold his small family together in her absence.
As Melek fights to survive prison, Ali crosses personal and legal boundaries in an attempt to find someone who can help him save his wife. Together, they uncover a conspiracy running far more in-depth than they could ever have imagined.
The show ran for a single season and has 25 episodes.
Once a notorious playboy and race-driver, Ali Nejat Karasu has become a wildly successful businessman. When he unexpectedly becomes the single father of a young son, he turns to an alluring pediatrician, Naz, for help.
Discovering that Naz’s mechanic husband is a talented designer, Ali hires him to work on a critical business project. Bad decisions and interpersonal entanglements pile up as the trio, and those around them pursue private goals in questionable ways.
The show ran for two seasons and has 31 episodes.
Other Top Netflix Shows About Turkey
If you love these and can’t get enough, Netflix has you covered! Other popular shows about Turkey on Netflix include:
- Ethos: Bir Baskadir
- Masum: Innocent
- 46 Yok Olan
Getting Ready for Your Turkish Adventure
As you enjoy these top Netflix shows, don’t forget to make notes about things you see that you want to learn more about.
Your notes will help you plan your perfect customized tour of everything Turkey has to offer when you’re ready to go adventuring!