BURAK HAKKI: The Turkish actor loved by both sides of the Aegean

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Turkish actor Burak Hakki, who rose to global fame for his role in "Dirilis: Ertugrul", has fans in both Turkey and in Greece where he has ancestral roots and although he never intended to become an actor,  fate had other plans. 

Hakki talked to Greek City Times about personal and professional matters including past and current collaborations in Greece.

Born in 1972 in Istanbul, Turkey, Hakki studied for an MBA at Faculty of Economics of the University of Istanbul.  He worked as a fashion model in Turkey and Europe for over 10 years and later started acting classes before working in the field in Turkey around 2000.  

Your father was born in Komotini, Greece. What memories do you have of that background growing up?
My father was born in Komotini, Greece and I always remember my family speaking Greek sometimes when I was a kid. Later, when I had my farm and family house in Çanakkale my father always listened to Greek music. He always said positive comments about Greek people. Before he passed away, I had the chance to take him with me to Komotini. After 50 years, he saw again his friends, his school, and places where he grew up.

Was acting your primary choice of vocation or it was something that evolved?
Acting was not my primary choice. But after 10 years as a leading model in Turkey, producers and film companies offered me lots of parts in movies and TV series. When I felt ready and attended classes and when I started acting I found myself in an amazing, challenging, and exciting industry.

What does acting mean for you? What are those principles and skills someone should have to become a good actor? Acting means life, an endless road, and you will reach the top. You can upgrade yourself every second. Every experience and observation will offer  you extra value and skills. A person who wants to be a good actor has to be open-minded, free-spirited and be prepared for hard work and real emotions on set.

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Whats the biggest challenge when taking on a role?
Depends on the role. Some roles are a real challenge. You could be a method actor or a technical actor. But still depends on what the director expects from you. Your set discipline and relation with the director, or the crew, are important too.

Youre a very famous Turkish actor. Why did you choose to play in a Greek theatrical play in the past?

To play in a Greek theatre was a very big decision for me. It was a risk for my career as a TV actor. But I knew it will offer me some extra skills even I were unsuccessful. And as a person, I like challenges and I am never afraid to lose. I lost enough in my life and all those experiences gave me more strength.

Tell us about your recent collaboration with  Greek actress Mimi Denisi in the movie “Smyrna My Beloved”.

“Smyrna My Beloved” with Mimi Denissi was a great project for me. Since I met with Mimi and read the script, I believed so much in this movie. I studied the script extensively before the movie, while shooting the movie and even after the movie. I was always excited. I am so happy I played in this movie and thankful to Mimi and all the crew. From the very beginning when I read the script, I found it to be  touching story because it involved reality.

Are there any similarities or differences between Greeks and Turks? And what are some of the Greek habits, if any, that you adopted along the way?
There are many similarities. These two nations lived together for many hundreds of years. So obviously we share similarities when it comes to aspects of our music, lifestyle, family relations, and food. Besides language, religion and politics a difference is that Turkish people work too much. On the other hand, Greeks live better by having a quality of life. Greek people talk at the same time and talk loudly. Another similarity is that both peoples are hot-blooded.

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You won the Best Model of Turkey in 1994. Is beauty an advantage for male or female actors to fulfill their dreams?
I guess it’s true. Even in your relations, you prefer beauty when you meet a new person. Beauty is important. But without talent…it’s nothing.

What would you like to change in this world?
I would like one world where people all  love and respect each other.

What are some of your future plans?
Currently, I started a new TV series on a Greek TV channel. We started shooting in Istanbul these days and will continue shooting in Greece.

How important is the time you spend with your son and what is family for you?
My family is my priority and always comes first. I am always with my family. That’s why I have a farm and a farmhouse so I can collect more memories with my son and family members.

There are so many celebrity romances that blossom every day. Whats yours and how do you feel about it?
About love, I can say one thing: You will get a chance at love maybe once or twice in your life. And when you attain this gift, you should do anything to keep it.

Whats your point of view concerning the Greek Turkish diplomatic affairs?
I wish both countries become better in diplomacy. Because I know both peoples love each other.

What’s your motto?
Never look back and walk on to be happier.

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