Fire Engulfs Celebrated TV Drama Set in Istanbul
A celebrated outdoor film set in Istanbul, used in a number of top-rating Turkish soap dramas, caught fire on Friday but there were no casualties, local officials said.
The Kundura film set, in the district of Beykoz on the Asian side of the city, has become internationally-famous as the setting for series such as the smash hit "Dirilis Ertugrul" about the origins of the Ottoman Empire.
Beykoz mayor Yucel Celikbilek said he was saddened by the blaze but said that there were no fatalities in the fire, which started when "wooden material" caught fire.
"The necessary interventions were made and right now it's under control," he was quoted by the Turkish media as saying, adding that the precise cause would become apparent when fire workers had finished their work.
The blaze sent a huge cloud of black and gray smoke billowing into the sky visible from all over the city. Reports said that there was no film shoot in progress at the time.
Istanbul fire service chief Ali Karahan confirmed that no one had been hurt.
The Hurriyet daily quoted the company that runs the site, Yildirim Group, as saying that the fire broke out in the area where the "Dirilis Ertugrul" series is made.
It said that tents used in the series, which is set in the 13th century, had caught fire.
Formerly a shoe factory, Kundura was turned from 2005 into Turkey's most important movie set, offering an entire fake city of possible shooting venues including streets, administrative buildings, and a forest.
The extent of any damage to the set, on the banks of the Bosphorus, was not immediately clear.
Turkish soap series, most of which are shot in Istanbul, have become a major success abroad as well as at home, enthralling viewers in the Balkans, Arab world and also Latin America.
Along with Dirilis Ertugrul, a host of other series have been shot at Kundura, including Kurtlar Vadisi (Wolves Valley) a long running franchise about a Turkish secret agent that is known for playing on anti-Western sentiments.