Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Faruk Aksoy|
|Produced by||Ayşe Germen|
|Written by||İrfan Saruhan|
|Music by||Benjamin Wallfisch|
|Distributed by||Tiglon Film|
|Box office||$61.2 million (₺183.241.062)|
Fetih 1453 (English: The Conquest 1453) is a 2012 Turkish epic action film directed by Faruk Aksoy and produced by Faruk Aksoy, Servet Aksoy and Ayşe Germen. Starring Devrim Evin, İbrahim Çelikkol and Dilek Serbest, the film is based on events surrounding the Fall of Constantinople (now Istanbul) to the Ottoman Turks during the reign of Sultan Mehmed II.
The story shifts abruptly to the 15th century. Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih was given the throne by his father Murad II when he was 12; he learns of his father's death while governing the Sanjak of Saruhan. This causes him much grief and paves the way for his ascension to the throne again, after the death of his brother Fathıl IV. When Sultan Mehmet had first ascended the throne, he was also 12 years old. Murad II, suffocated by the political hostility of his margraves and viziers, relinquished the throne due to the impact of his deep grief caused by his beloved son Mohamed’s death and enthroned Mehmet. Grand Vizier Halil Pasha, who had a great influence on the Janissaries and the state, was dissatisfied because of this situation. He was especially troubled with Sultan Mehmet indicating that Constantinople’s conquest is vitally essential. He made Sultan Murat inherit the throne again in anticipation of the possibility of crusaders occupying Ottoman territories by taking advantage of Mehmet. Mehmet was suspended from the throne and sent to the Sanjak of Saruhan.
Now, Mehmet succeeds to the throne again and is even more powerful. His priority target is still the conquest of Constantinople. He gains inspiration from the words of Muhammad: “Constantinople will surely be conquered. What a blessed commander is its and what a blessed army is its army.”
He works out everything that will take him to the target. At the outset, Mehmet decides that he should live in peace with contiguous countries until he makes the preparations for his campaign. He sends messengers to the Papal States, to the Kingdom of Hungary, to the Serbian Despotate, to the Kingdom of Poland, to the Republic of Genoa and to the Republic of Venice and notifies them of his intention to live in peace. He restores the dockyard of Gallipoli and because of this action, 100 galleys can be produced there in a year. Meanwhile, the Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos thinks that Sultan Mehmet is inexperienced and lacking in foresight. Constantine demands heavy appropriations, trying to use to his advantage his possession of the captive Prince Orhan. Constantine’s main intention is to make Sultan Mehmet lose his reputation by capitulating to his demands. Sultan Mehmet appears to accept his demands, but this is just a strategy of deceit.
As soon as the news of Karaman's rebellion is received, Ottoman armies set out for Akşehir. Karamanoğlu İbrahim was not expecting such a mighty army. He demands peace. Sultan Mehmet accepts the peace, because he does not want his armies to be harmed unnecessarily. After the military expedition, on the return journey, a group of janissaries confront the state tent and ask for payment. They had not actually engaged in battle. In response, Sultan Mehmet sends out enthronements. He also sends into exile the janissary master Kurtçu Doğan. The janissary was an ally of Grand Vizier Halil Pasha. With this incident, Mehmet properly gains dominion over his armies.
Following his return to Adrianople, Mehmet sends a messenger to Emperor Constantine and he declares that he will no longer send the subsidy for the continued captivity of Orhan. Following this incident, Mehmet starts to build the Boğazkesen (Rumelian) Fortress across the Anatolian Fortress. He fully intends to wage war against the Byzantine Empire.
On 29 May 1453, the Byzantine soldiers on the ramparts are overwhelmed while facing Sultan Mehmet and his army .
The film only depicts the ethnically Turkish element of the Ottoman army. In reality, the Ottoman army was very diverse, including many Balkan converts to Islam as well as Christian levies and the armies of the Sultan's Christian and Muslim vassals. The Ottoman Empire also engaged in a series of conquests in the previous decade, subjugating the Serbian Despotate and defeating Hungary at the Battle of Varna. The Eastern Roman Empire by 1450 was a shadow of its former self, having shrunk to a few square kilometers outside of Constantinople itself. The city was impoverished and depopulated, and by 1453 consisted of a series of walled villages separated by vast fields surrounded by the 1000 year old Theodosian walls. Eastern Roman Emperor Constantine XI rejected Ottoman overtures to surrender, fearing a massacre by Turkish forces. The final capture of the city also omits the day of pillaging that Mehmed allowed his soldiers, with Mehmed simply sparing the inhabitants instead.
Production and release
The production costs of the film are not well-known. The film was produced over a period of three years and cost an estimated $17 million. Other sources claim that the actual cost of the film is US$8 million. A Turkish journalist Ali Eyuboglu asked budget to producer and producer claimed that they never stated any budget to press. In addition to this, another co-producer commented to Ali Eyuboglu that 4 million ticket will be afford expenses for the film. In Turkey profit to producer is estimated $2 per ticket, so the film should cost no more than $8 million. It is still the most expensive film in Turkish cinema history. The film trailer itself took one and a half months to complete and cost $600,000. The trailer was viewed by over 1.5 million people within 24 hours of its release. The size of the full cast was extensive; the film reportedly required the use of 16,000 extras.
Fetih 1453 was released in different countries on 16 February 2012, including United States, the United Kingdom, France, Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Germany, the Netherlands, Macedonia, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, South Korea, Japan and several others. Universal Studios have expressed an interest in acquiring the distribution rights to the film.
|Actor name||Role name||Explanation|
|Devrim Evin||Mehmed II||The 7th Ottoman sultan who seeks to conquer Constantinople. Mehmed's childhood is played by Ege Uslu.|
|İbrahim Çelikkol||Ulubatlı Hasan||Mehmed's friend and mentor, leader of Ottoman cavalry corps. He martyrs himself when placing an Ottoman banner in the top of Walls of Constantinople while suffering multiple arrow wounds.|
|Dilek Serbest||Era||Orban's adopted daughter he bought from a slave market in Constantinople. She has a romantic relationship with Hasan. Era's childhood is played by Algun Molla.|
|Recep Aktuğ||Constantine XI||The last Byzantine emperor. In this film, when he dies, Mehmed orders Byzantine noblemen to bury him in Christian tradition.|
|Cengiz Coşkun||Knight Giustiniani||Genoese general. He is killed by Hasan.|
|Erden Alkan||Çandarlı Halil Pasha||Ottoman Grand Vizier serving under Murad II and Mehmed II. He rejects all Mehmed's plans relating to the conquest of Constantinople and urges peace with Byzantium.|
|Naci Adıgüzel||Grand Duke Notaras||The last Megas Doux of Constantinople. He shows strong opposition towards Constantine's intention to seek help from Vatican and Genoa.|
|Erdoğan Aydemir||Orban||A Hungarian master who initially proposes his sketch to Doge of Genoa, but the Doge isn't interested in it. Orban refuses Notaras' demand to design a cannon for Byzantium. When Notaras' men attempts to arrest Orban for his refusal, Hasan saves him and Era, his adoptive daughter to Edirne. Orban later design the Great Bombard for the Ottoman Empire used in the siege of Constantinople.|
|İlker Kurt||Murad II||The 6th Ottoman sultan, father of Mehmed II.|
|Sedat Mert||Zagan Pasha||An Ottoman military commander who is used to be an ardent advocate for the conquest of Constantinople. He often confronts with Halil Pasha urging to live in peace with Byzantine Empire.|
|Raif Hikmet Çam||Akshemseddin||One of Mehmed's tutors. He comes to Mehmed in the 40th day of the siege, and motivates the then-upset and frustrated Sultan with the discovery of Abu Ayyub Al Ansari's tomb near the Walls of Constantinople.|
|Namık Kemal Yıiğittürk||Molla Hüsrev||One of Mehmed's tutors who invites Akshemseddin to motivate the Sultan in the 40th day of the siege.|
|Öner As||Molla Gürani||One of Mehmed's tutors who invites Akshemseddin to motivate the Sultan in the 40th day of the siege.|
|Mustafa Atilla Kunt||Şahabettin Pasha||An Ottoman military commander and vizier. He is tasked by Sultan Mehmed II to make three furnaces. During the siege of Constantinople he attacks the city from Tekfur Palace (Palace of the Porphyrogenitus) and the Gate of Caligaria.|
|Özcan Aliser||Saruca Pasha||An Ottoman military commander and vizier.|
|Murat Sezal||İsa Pasha||An Ottoman military commander.|
|Faik Aksoy||Karaca Pasha||An Ottoman military commander. During the siege of Constantinople, he attacks the city from the Gate of Charisius and Blachernae Palace (Ayvansaray).|
|Hüseyin Santur||Süleyman Pasha||An Ottoman admiral. During the siege of Constantinople, he attacks the city from the Golden Horn. He is banished by Mehmed after the failure to enter the Golden Horn.|
|Ali Rıza Soydan||Pope||An unnamed Pope of Vatican (the contemporary Pope in that time was Nicholas V).|
|Ali Ersin Yenar||Doge of Genoa||An unnamed Doge of Genoa who orders Giustiniani to command Genoese army after an assault towards Genoese freight in the Bosphorus (the contemporary Doge in that time was Pietro di Campofregoso).|
|İzzet Çivril||Cardinal Isidore||A cardinal who offers supports from Vatican to Byzantium.|
|Adnan Kürkçü||Gennadius Scholarius||An Orthodox theologian who strongly opposes the Emperor's plan to unite Eastern Orthodoxy with Roman Catholicism.|
|Şahika Koldemir||Gülbahar Hatun||Mehmed's wife, mother of Prince Bayezid.|
|Edip Tüfekçi||Prince Orhan||Pretender to the Ottoman throne who is an exile in Constantinople. During the siege of Constantinople, he is assigned to defend Port of Langa.|
|Aslan İzmirli||Karamanoğlu İbrahim||Bey of Karamanids provoked to rebel against Ottoman Empire by Constantine XI.|
|Yiğitcan Elmalı||Prince Bayezid||Mehmed II's son.|
|Oğuz Oktay||Osman I||The founder of Ottoman Empire, Mehmed's forefather. In this film, he is depicted to appear before Mehmed in Mehmed's dream. Osman tells Mehmed that he is the conqueror mentioned by Muhammad.|
|Tuncay Gençkalan||Abu Ayyub al-Ansari||One of Muhammad's sahaba depicted to retell Muhammad's word about the capture of Constantinople by a blessed army and commander. In his later life, he joins a Muslim army to conquer Constantinople in 670s, but he dies in Constantinople and is buried there.|
|Yılmaz Babatürk||Ishak Pasha||An Ottoman general.|
|Halis Bayraktaroğlu||Kurtçu Doğan||Leader of the Janissary.|
|Songül Kaya||Lady Emine||Halil Pasha's wife.|
|Lili Rich||Dancer||Dinner table dancer.|
|Hüseyin Özay||Ali the Blacksmith||Hasan's teacher.|
|Buminhan Dedecan||Mustafa||An Ottoman tunnel master.|
|Emrah Özdemir||Selim||An Ottoman tunnel foreman.|
|Yiğit Yarar||Hüseyin||An Ottoman soldier.|
|Lili Rich||Dancer||Dinner table dancer.|
|Hüseyin Bozdemir||Mahmud||Orban's assistant.|
The film was released on 15 February 2012 at 14:53 local time. It sold 1.4 million tickets on its first weekend and 2.23 million tickets in its first week of release. In 18 days, it surpassed Recep İvedik 2 to become the most watched film ever in Turkey. As of 13 May 2012, it has sold 6,468,777 tickets in Turkish cinemas.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who watched a special advance screening, liked the film very much. Prior to its release, the film caused outrage in Greece, with many accusing it of being racist and obscuring historical facts, while the Greek Proto Thema newspaper called it "a conquest propaganda by the Turks".
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