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Netflix Boards Second Turkish Original, ‘The Gift,’ Starring Beren Saat

Netflix has announced its second Turkish original, supernatural drama “The Gift,” toplining local star Beren Saat, who is best-known for playing the lead in female empowerment drama “Fatmagul,” which was a global hit.

Shooting has started in Istanbul, with British producer Alex Sutherland (“Argo”) shepherding the eight-episode show, which is produced by Turkey’s OG Medya for Netflix. Netflix has already commissioned two seasons of “The Gift.”

Saat (second from left), who is among the country’s highest-paid talents, will play a young Istanbul artist named Atiye, whose life changes when she encounters an archaeologist. A discovery is made at the site of an ancient temple, called Gobeklitepe, where secrets of her past are hidden, according to promotional materials.  

“We are thrilled to be working with Beren in her return to series as she brings a dynamic female character like Atiye to life,” said Kelly Luegenbiehl, Netflix Vice President of International Originals, in a statement.

“The journey from Istanbul to Gobeklitepe and Nemrut, passing through Anatolia, provides a connection between the spiritual world and the material world, “ according to the statement.

Netflix’s first Turkish original, “The Protector,” which also toplined a big local star and had a supernatural element, went out in 190 territories last December and scored more than 10 million views in the first four weeks, according to the streaming giant.

On April 26, Netflix will drop the second season of “The Protector.” That show toplines Çagatay Ulusoy – who previously starred in “Medcezir,” the Turkish adaptation of “The O.C.” – as young antiques dealer Hakan Demir, who discovers that he hails from an ancient line of superheroes and must protect present-day Istanbul from evil forces. 

“Our journey began in Istanbul with ‘The Protector,’ and continues with our new series,” Luegenbiehl said.

Netflix is establishing a bigger footprint in Turkey just as the local TV industry is being battered by the country’s protracted currency crisis, though it remains among the world’s top global exporters of TV dramas.

 

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