The First Step to Writing from Turkish Actor Engin Akyürek: “Sessizlik” (Silence)
So far, we have known Engin Akyürek as a talented, good-looking, and naive Turkish actor. He left his mark on Turkish television screens with some unforgettable roles. As Kerim in “Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne?” (Fatmagül), Ömer in “Kara Para Aşk” (Black Money Love) and his last role Sancar in “Sefirin Kızı” (The Ambassador’s Daughter)… We can keep counting his best roles on TV for the whole content, but luckily we don’t need to as we did it before. Just so you know, he is an internationally-acclaimed Turkish actor, yet you already know that we believe!
Click here for a detailed biography of the gifted Turkish actor. Once you click on the link, you will come across the entire corpus of Engin Akyürek!
Nevertheless, the reason why we are about to mention his name today is not a TV series nor a feature film. Neither TV nor the silver screen, the actor is today our guest only because of his first published book: “Sessizlik” (Silence). With this book, which consists of 21 short stories, the actor also revealed that he is a good writer.
The prominent Turkish actor gave an interview to the distinguished journalist Ayşe Arman on Medyanın 51 Tonu on May 2. Thanks to this interview, we have had a better chance to explore some hidden characteristics of him.
So… Let’s go!
On Life, Acting, and Literature with Engin Akyürek
I was a huge fan of Engin Akyürek and as soon I had the chance, I pounded at this door…
A girlfriend called right after the interview. “Tell me what kind of person” she said. I said “wait for I will write.” “I can’t wait for you to post on Instagram, tell me now,” she said.
This is how I described him:
Become a passionate lover … What’s more, become a wonderful husband … Become a very good companion … Become a diving companion (diver at the same time) Become a philosophy teacher … You learn a lot but you get lost in his depth, too …
Someone who thinks and contemplates life… Obviously he is working on himself… A tight actor, a tight writer… He has a book in which he has collected 21 stories. Its name, “Sessizlik” (literally, “Silence”)… The book is incredibly good…
And of course… He has an exquisite simplicity, a chic, understated state, eyes flashing stars when laughed, words carefully chosen, a magnificent smile, and a sex apparel that is not underlined.
Engin Akyürek is a really impressive person, I’m glad I got to know him. He donated the income of his book “Silence” to Darüşşafaka Association. The book is in 6th edition. Get it somewhere and read when you can…
Sefirin Kızı (The Ambassador’s Daughter) is about to end. He has already completed two years in Bodrum … Set sail for new projects. Keep watching it… We love you Engin…
Sessizlik (Silence) is a Great Book to Read
Ayşe Arman(AA)- Shame on me, I just read “Silence”. And I was bursting! What is this! How could you write such a beautiful thing?
Engin Akyürek(EA)- I appreciate, there are so many books to read that mine has been waiting in line… I am very glad that you like it, I am very happy when I hear something good about the book. Maybe because it belongs to me with everything…
There Are 21 Stories Each One is More Beautiful Than Another
AA- It is indeed a book like a water drop. All 21 stories are simple, understated and plain. I could not know whether you are better in acting or writing …
EA- I wish my acting would be better. My job is acting. Although I love to write, I do not see myself as a writer, even though I keep fictional stories in my head. When I read the works of legendary writers such as Yaşar Kemal, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, Sait Faik Abasıyanık and Sezgin Kaymaz, I think I don’t deserve to be called as a writer…
Old Holidays, Children Playing Between The Neighborhoods, Real People, Solid Values
AA- Warm, friendly language. A very clean and understandable Turkish. The most importantly, pure, and real emotions. Old holidays, children playing in the neighborhood, real people, real values… Is there a special reason for mentioning these concepts?
EA- I don’t know, I just tried to show the sincerity of that little boy hidden inside me.
The “past” is a memory, but also a depth. My childhood passed in the 80s and my adolescence in the 90s. The holidays were warmer, the relationships were more sincere, there was no cell phone… But I am not saying these as a compliment to the past, I am only observing. If we start to count the comfort and convenience that mobile phones have brought to our lives, none of us would like to go to the past.
Such comparisons cause me to construct stories in my head. In the past, when we called our girlfriends, there was a possibility that his father had turned on the home phone. Today, home phones are almost not used. We find it more comfortable to messahe her on Instagram instead of calling from a mobile phone. I love fictionalizing stories about these changes.
Engin Akyürek: The World Has Had an Incredible Change in the Last 20 Years That Has Never Happened Before
AA- Are you a one of those who miss the “Old Turkey and its values”?
EA- No matter what, we all miss the past I believe. Because we are there. Whenever the present becomes narrow, whenever the future frightens us, we cling to the past, find a few moments from there, and take shelter in it. In the last 20 years, the world has experienced a change it has not experienced before. We have also witnessed this. There are also stories in them. I like to ponder and write about these stories.
We Don’t Listen and Love Each Other
AA- What has happened the most disappearing thing in the present world?
EA- Let’s say it changed rather than disappeared. Those feelings still exist, just transformed into something else. I am not saying this from a negative point. Of course, there are still good-hearted and compassionate beautiful people in this world.
However, we do not listen or love each other as much as before. We have transformed into impatient, empathetic beings. We keep hitting each other with our selfish and bloated egos. But there is also this: In the 1940s, more than 40 million people died in World War II. The past of the world is not more innocent than today!
We Will Change First!
AA- Do you feel tired of living in a world where everybody is screwing on each other, looking out for their own interests, trying to tear, inflicting violence on each other, where injustice is at the ceiling, where justice is not fulfilled, that has lost its courtesy, delicacy and purity?
EA- Call a spade a spade! Yes, this is all today’s reality. I am sad more than tired. Because the human being gets sad, cares about them. What I mean with trouble is; we can only say our word by doing our job as best as we can. If we do our jobs morally and honestly, if we seek mercy, if we rebel against injustice, if we want to live in a conscientious society, if we are against violence against women, we must change first. We will be the people we want. I think this is the world’s problem; not doing what we demand, in our own world, in our lives.
If I, Engin Akyürek, Do My Job Well Enough, I Have Told My Story, Too
AA- How do you protect yourself from these evil, ugliness?
EA- By trying to make my own world beautiful. By writing, drawing, reading. At least I have an effort. It is also nice to have an intention …
AA- Do you live on your own planet like the Little Prince?
EA- It has nothing to do. I am a man who lives in Bagdat Street and has a social life. I have no effort to protect myself.
AA- Well, but you are both in the middle and not. How do you manage to stand in the middle of everything and never actually exist?
EA- I am in the middle, but I just want to exist with my work. If I do my job well, I will be telling both my word and my story. No more is needed. There is no need for big words. Great singers such as Bülent Ortaçgil and Fikret Kızılok are ones that I love very much. They sang what they will sing, they will sing. We don’t even know their lives much, and honestly, we don’t need to.
It is Sometimes Good Not to Know Some Things…
AA- There are people who get anxious when they don’t see themselves in the headlines twice a week. You know, there are those who say, “There is no good or bad advertisement, as long as I can be on the agenda!”…
EA- Didn’t we leave them in the 90s? I think it is a culture that emerged when private broadcasters were first released. Today’s world is more real and brutal. The main thing is to exist with your work. But everyone wants to know everything, to learn everything. But sometimes it’s nice not to know things! I think the perception of acting in Turkey is a bit wrong. What’s more, I don’t think actors are actually people who express themselves and talk a lot. I think it’s a little bit of something inside. Acting is a research, in fact, a character study, just as historiography is a study.
Engin Akyürek is Finally on Instagram…
AA- Everybody go crazy for you! Yet, it doesn’t seem that spoils you. Many men, at such a cheer, had their ego to the ceiling! If not, are you a secret narcissist or something? Could you be playing the humble by any chance?
EA- If I’m playing all this, I think I should get an Oscar! I am doing my profession, being loved, admired, being interested is already in the essence of this job. The feeling that invites you to this profession is to be liked and approved. But all this doesn’t require you to be spoiled. Also, it sounds funny to spoil in 2021, we are in an age where we need to be professional in our business. By the way, success in Turkey and abroad is of course not just my success. The story, the project, has a power. No matter how good you act on a stage, if your story is bad, it won’t make an impact.
What is The Best Compliment for Engin Akyürek?
AA- If you don’t act, would you die?
EA- Acting is what I’ve always wanted to do. It is making me so excited. But nothing is worth dying for! Writing will always be in my life. I know that too. If there is no paper, I write on my head …
AA- What comments about your acting mostly sweep you off your feet?
EA- The phrase “He’s totally the man!”. This is where I perceive acting. So, the transition to being someone else. Being him, not playing… I would be very happy if I can make people believe that I am that man.
Person with a Skill but without Much Education in Acting
AA- You did not have any acting training. What are the advantages, what are the disadvantages?
EA- I think it is not a disadvantage of knowing, learning, being educated. What really important is how do you relate yourself with all this. “Being educated kills natural acting” or “Teasing always plays itself, it cannot become someone else!” I do not agree with such superficial thoughts. You can break them with your own determination, with your work.
Boredom is The Biggest Disease of This Age
AA- One of the breaking points of your life is the “Türkiye’nin Yıldızları” (Stars of Turkey) contest. You came first. Then you always took part in very quality projects one after the other. It all went long. What do you pay attention to when choosing projects?
EA- The biggest disease of the age is boredom. Everyone is bored with everything, and I understand that too. I do not want to be bored while doing my job. In order to do my job passionately, I need to be able to go on a journey with that story, with that role. I pay attention to this. Sometimes I want to be “that guy”, and sometimes the story impresses me.
It All Depends on The Story’s Power
AA- You shared the leading roles with successful Turkish actresses such as Melisa Sözen, Beren Saat, Tuba Büyüküstün, Neslihan Atagül, Fahriye Evcen… So, are there any names you would mention to play again and again?
EA- Whoever the story calls, we’ll meet there. Everything is hidden in the power of the story.
AA- The last TV series again reached great ratings, but it didn’t seem as bright as the previous ones. Did it discourage you?
EA- I see “Sefirin Kızı” (The Ambassador’s Daughter) as a successful and self-fulfilled job. The success of a job is not just about rating. I hope the trip abroad will be successful. When things don’t go well, it’s natural to worry and be sad. But this is inherent in the business that you learn over the time.
The First Leading Role in His Career
AA- What does Meral Okay (a master Turkish actress, director, and writer) mean to you?
EA- Meral Okay was like a Dostoyevsky character to me. It was incredible. Had our lives not crossed, I might not have been the one who I am. Bir Bulut Olsam (If I Were a Cloud) is a very valuable job for me. She offered me my first leading role and had a lot of endeavour on me. What’s more, she trusted me. She may not have trusted. So, it was the first time we played together.
Her conversation, depth and humanity were so special that even today her absence is felt not only as a writer but also as an intellectual. I miss her just like everyone else. There will not be a Meral Okay story again, but she will always be remembered beautifully with her writings and actions.
Engin Akyürek Acted Along with Some of The Best Turkish Actors
AA- You also had the opportunity to play with great actors such as Erdal Özyağcılar and Zeki Alasya. What have these experiences taught you?
EA- Imagine you are only 21 years old, and you get the chance to play with such giant actors. You see the kitchen of the job. You learn to be disciplined, to love your role, to be patient. Maybe you don’t feel them at the moment, but as the years go by, they shine a light inside you. They are one of the most valuable players this country has grown. Erdal Özyağcılar, I think, is Turkey’s Jack Nicholson.
What They Like the Most About Me is My Acting Not the Appearance
AA- Do you have any observations such as “Women like my long-haired state more”? Or do they like you all kinds?
EA- If you manage to be “that guy” and the audience got this feeling, I think they like the role and the hair. But what does hair matter if you haven’t gotten the role? It’s not the hair they like there, I mean, what the character carries and whether you could be that character. Otherwise, everyone has hair. Hair is only the story.
It is Shame to Talk About Someone Else’s Money
AA- There are news that the actors are getting 300-350 thousand per episode. Are these numbers real? Or else, blowing news?
EA- I am a child of a civil servant. So, I do not talk about such things, I do not care. It is a shame to talk about someone else’s earned money!
AA- You joined social media too late. Last month, you posted “I’m here”. Couldn’t you stand the pressure of your fans?
EA- This account had been waiting to be opened for about 5 years. This is the time, I assume… The fact that I did not have an account before was not due to taking a stand or an attitude towards social media. It flowed like that in its own natural way, and it has been so today. I don’t like being dogmatic and saying “This is this”. We opened the account, and let’s see…
We Have Been Living in Bodrum Together for 2 Years
AA- Who is this sweetie in the moon?
EA- Let me introduce… Feyyaz. My flat mate.
AA- He was a very handsome hug. Then you are a cat person …
EA- It can be said. I love all animals. But I communicate more easily with cats. It’s because I spend more time. We have been together with Feyyaz in Bodrum for two years …
AA- How did your path cross?
EA- His mother gave birth in my garden. She had three sweetest sons. I named them: Metin, Ali, Feyyaz…
AA- You are a fun of Beşiktaş Football Club?
EA- Yes, I am a strong Beşiktaş fan! First the mother left, then Metin and Ali… Feyyaz remained… (greetings to Feyyaz Uçar from here, too!) He did not leave me. We have been living together since that day. He’s very fond of me. He’s been seeing me since he was born. Guess I’m a big cat for him. I am her everything. I am a friend, a father, a mother…
AA- Well, after a few weeks, the Bodrum chapter will close, the series is over. Will you take Feyyaz to Istanbul?
EA- We haven’t left anyone behind so far! Fortunately, we do not leave Feyyaz either… But it is a deep matter. Because I have another cat. Currently in Istanbul with my mother. She is a mature, philosopher-wise female cat who knows life very well. Feyyaz is young, handsome and bouncy. But I’ll find a way.
Literature Is One of Humanity’s Greatest Discoveries
AA- Come on, tell me, “These stories I write will be filmed…”. Because I saw those stories frame by frame, you have a cinematographic language …
EA- I have intention. There are also those I have been working on. I hope it will be one day. I would like to shoot…
AA- How do you have such a command of Turkish? Are you reading a lot?
EA- Yes. Reading allows me to be in another place, in another world. Literature is one of mankind’s greatest discoveries.
AA- What was the last time you read and loved it?
EA- I have read İsmail Güzelsoy. “The Shepherd of Orphaned Trees”. It was awesome. I really like.
AA- A Paul Auster novel you read made it to the bestseller list in Argentina? Which novel was it
EA- I like Paul Auster very much. Some loves very much, but some does not at all. He is one of my favorite writers. I’ve read almost all of his novels. I guess I love his writing because I find it close to the cinema. The novel in question was “The Man in the Dark”. I do not know if the news is true, if it is true, I was instrumental in something good. Paul Auster hear my voice!
Incomes of the Book Goes to an Institution
AA- The income of the story book “Silence” goes to Darüşşafaka Institution, is it correct?
EA- Yes. I specifically wanted it. I went on the occasion of an organization. It had a deep impression on me. It’s a great school. They raise bright young people. They do a tremendous job. It is impossible not to admire. The existence of such a school in Turkey should make us all proud. When this book comes to the agenda, “The income obtained should go to Darüşşafaka!” I said. I think you should do an interview about them too. The history of the school is also very interesting…
Engin Akyürek Studied History at the University and This Was a Conscious Choice
AA- You, as Engin Akyürek, studied History at the Faculty of Language and History-Geography. Was it a conscious choice or was your score enough?
EA- No very conscious. I wanted either literature or history. It was history, I read it fondly.
AA- Didn’t your family ask you to study business or economics?
EA- Contrary, they always showed respect to my decisions.
AA- What is it that excites you about history?
EA- A “memory”, actually, a methodology of understanding the world, your country and yourself. Reading history is a discovery. And very excited. May God give everyone the excitement of İlber Ortaylı (A veteran Turkish history professor).
AA- If you had the opportunity to travel through time, in what period would you like to live as Engin Akyürek?
EA- These things scare me. Let me stay here. With this head, I would be unhappy any time I go with this information!
One to Go to 40…
AA- You’re approaching your 40. What kind of mood are you in?
EA- A period I watched a little bit. It’s a mood I’m trying to understand. But I’m in a good mood.
There is an Amusement Park Inside of Me
AA- When the person’s name is “Engin”, is it a little “Serious brother”? Is the depth of your name reflected in your soul? Are you a man whose soul is old?
EA- There is a very common sentence in my stories; “The kid inside me is throwing me from branch to branch!” So on the contrary, there is a child inside me that I can’t stop. I don’t know what people see from outside, but I have an amusement park inside me!
What Remained with Us is Precious
AA- Sorry, but you’re coming to 40… Why have we not seen you having great loves… Does the fact that we haven’t seen mean you don’t experience?
WA- Everyone wants to know and learn everything. I had such a sentence in one of my story, “Not knowing would promise pure happiness if it would not bring ignorance.” What remains with us is precious.
What does Reputation Mean to Engin Akyürek?
AA- What does fame mean to you?
EA- Fame can be a result of your work. But it shouldn’t be the goal of your work. If it does, it could end up being disastrous.
I Liken Ankara to a Cup of Beautiful Black Tea
AA- How did you become such an essential person? Does being from Ankara have an effect?
EA- Yes. I have the soul of Ankara. I compare Ankara to “a beautifully brewed tea”. It is a great chance to drink from that tea.
AA- What surprises will you be with us in the coming days?
EA- Let’s not say surprise, but we’re starting an advertising campaign very soon. I’m excited to be collaborating with such a brand for the first time. There is also a movie project that has been in preparation for a while, it will be shot this summer.
There is a Monster Inside of Engin Akyürek Related to the Acting
EA- There is something overflowing my heart about my job underneath my calm image in the caravan. My negative traits? I cannot do two jobs at the same time. Because I like to do everything I do by giving myself. I also have the indecision of Libra…
The Feeling of Deficiency Must Always Be
To watch himself and say, “Wow! How well I played!” does not sound very healthy to me. Furthermore, I think this is a mental illness. When you watch, there should always be a lack, a feeling of non-existence. Something about life is this feeling of inadequacy. It must be so that we can always go forward. But of course, it shouldn’t turn into something traumatic. If it turns into a lack of self-confidence or a complex, then we have bad…