Famous actor speaks his mind on government and entertainment scene

A famous Turkish actor has publicly said there are not many renegades from the leftist period, even dating back to the coup that happened almost three decades back.

Rutgay Aziz, who has featured in several theatre plays and movies since 1987, was talking during a wide-ranging interview.

On 12 September 1980, Turkey saw its third coup d’état that was led by Chief of the General Staff, General Kenan Evren. The first two were in 1960 and 1971.

On what he wished for this year, Aziz said he wished for “peace and tranquillity, and life that is honourable and fair in Turkey, with the winds of freedom blowing.”  

He said: “This country should be a county where people look at each other in a good-humoured way and with respect. Unfortunately, we forget to smile. If you look at faces of people waiting at bus stops, there are many question marks on them. You will see sulky faces. There are no smiles on their faces. They are all thinking of how they can survive on just 2000 TL (less than $400).”

Answering another question about his income, the famous actor said he does smile when he looks at his purse.

“I do enjoy the fruits of my labour. I don’t make my living through an unearned income. Though I am the child of a liberated family, I always lived through my own means. Surely my daughter, Doğa Rutgay Aziz, is also doing well in terms of her financial independence.”

His daughter is also a popular actress.

On the death of Tarık Akan, a close friend of Aziz and a famed Turkish actor who died in 2016, Aziz pointed out how he deeply misses him. “He is irreplaceable and it will always be like that. We were sitting just over there. I can’t sit there anymore. I can’t sit in that chair. I lost many friends and I do become lonely. I am 72-year-old. When they go, they do take a part of me with them,” said Aziz.

On comparisons between the present and past, Aziz made an example of the 1980 coup, on how there are very few renegades left.

“I was having a conversation with Ruhi Su (Turkish folk music singer), he pointed out about Renegades. He said to me ‘my son Rutgay, some people wait, some people wait for a proper time to return themselves.’ Even today his words are sitting in my mind.”

Talking about the future, Aziz said: “Come on. Could it be without hope? The important thing is transforming the hope into action. There are some differences in theatre and movie since 1980. The biggest one is the division among actors with the divide and rule conduct dominating. Previously actors were never this divided as we see today. Actors had never been pro the system like today. They had always shown their opposition to the system.”

On his close friends, Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen, both facing charges, Aziz said he is “sad and surprised. The two comedians are in a very tragicomic play at the moment, and I hope that a fair and independent judiciary will free them.”  

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