Village refuses to permit burial of famous actor Kurtiz in cemetery

Village refuses to permit burial of famous actor Kurtiz in cemetery

Village refuses to permit burial of famous actor Kurtiz in cemetery

Some of the elders of Tahtakuşlar told Doğan news agency they were unaware that Kurtiz made the request to be buried in their cemetery. DHA photo

An Alevi village in the northwestern province of Balıkesir has sparked anger by refusing to honor the final will of departed actor Tuncel Kurtiz and permit the thespian to be buried in their 800-person settlement.

Kurtiz, who passed suddenly on Sept. 27 at the age of 77 in Istanbul, had asked to be buried in the Alevi village of Tahtakuşlar in Balıkesir, near to the village of Çamlıbel, which the actor had lived in for the past 10 years. Because of the village’s refusal, Kurtiz’s family has now chosen to bury the actor in Çamlıbel.

“This is a closed society,” said Hasan Bozkurt, the village headman (muhtar) of Tahtakuşlar, before adding that there was no room left in the village cemetery to inter the famous actor, a beloved figure that was famous for his role in movies and series over the past number of decades, as well as his left-wing politics.

“If we give permission [for Kurtiz’s burial here], then we won’t be able to head out onto the street. We won’t be able to look anyone in the face in the square. This is a Turkmen village – people trusted us and elected us because we protect their rights,” he said, noting that he had consulted on the matter with village elders, who reportedly did not view Kurtiz’s burial there as appropriate.

The decision sparked anger among Alevi organizations, with Hubyar Sultan Alevi Association head Ali Kenanoğlu saying a delegation had been immediately dispatched to Tahtakuşlar to convince he village to overturn its decision.

“They are going to right this wrong,” Kenanoğlu said. “There can’t be anything like this in the Alevi faith. We are attempting to rectify this humiliating situation.”

Faced with the wait, however, Kurtiz’s family has said the actor will be buried in Çamlıbel, regardless of whether the Alevi delegation is able to change Tahtakuşlar’s decision.

Kamil Saka, the mayor of Güre, the local municipality which encompasses the villages in question, said an appropriate final resting place had been found for the actor in Çamlıbel’s cemetery right by the Aegean.

“It’s on the shore, quite close to the sea. We’ve prepared a place where [Kurtiz] will be able to hear the footsteps of those who pass by,” Saka said.