Turgut Özakman, author of ‘Those Crazy Turks,’ dies following heart failure
Turgut Özakman had a prolific career as a dramaturgist, then administrator at the State Theater and the public broadcaster TRT. Hürriyet photoTurgut Özakman, a veteran producer with multiple facets who was popularly known for his bestselling book “Şu Çılgın Türkler” (Those Crazy Turks), passed away today after heart failure at a hospital in Ankara in which he was receiving treatment.
Özakman, who had a prolific career as a dramaturgist, then administrator at the State Theater and the public broadcaster TRT, was suffering from coronary artery disease.
Public acknowledgement of his work came late in his life, when he published his patriotic epic of 747 pages in 2005 at the age of 75.
In the book, Özakman made a triumphant display of his storytelling talents by rendering a rigorously factual narrative of the Independence War based on precise documentation, along with the weaving of a novel plot.
The massive book achieved a record of 311 editions – and still counting – equivalent to 622,000 copies, numbers unheard of in Turkey where book piracy has always been important, affecting the real statistics of a book’s reach. It has also been adapted many times on stage, the first time by War Academy students as a drama, and a few years later as an opera by the Caddebostan Culture Center as well as the İzmir State Ballet and Opera.
It was followed by a book on the story of the Gallipoli campaign and another on the establishment of the republic in two volumes.
Özakman is survived by his wife Ayla, their three children and four grandchildren.