Turkish TV series actor dies, funeral stirs debate
The funeral of Arda Öziri, an actor whose latest role was in the popular Turkish TV series “Resurrection” (Diriliş Ertuğrul), has stirred debate in Turkey after his coffin was “advertised” by his hometown’s municipal administration.
The 40-year-old died after he lost control of his motorcycle while driving on a highway in Istanbul’s Asian side, crashing into barrier.
The part where he drove his motorbike on the Trans-European Highway was slippery due to rain on early May 27, according to media reports.
The “Resurrection” actor, who previously played in other popular dramas such as “The Mansion with Vines” (Asmalı Konak) and “The Cost of Love” (Aşkın Bedeli), died in hospital after succumbing to injuries.
The funeral ceremony was held on May 28 at Dokuz Eylül University Fine Arts Faculty in the western Turkish province of İzmir, where Öziri graduated from.
As his actor friends spoke and fans sobbed, a large placard on the coffin, reading “İzmir Metropolitan Municipality,” drew criticism. Hundreds of social media users and some pundits criticized the municipality for using the funeral for its “advertisement” ahead of the 2019 local elections.
Daily Hürriyet columnist Cengiz Semercioğlu, who had previously criticized that most municipalities put their names on coffins in hundreds of funerals each day, slammed the practice as “disrespect.”
“Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu, please intervene and stop this practice. It is disrespectful for the deceased and for those who are left behind,” Semercioğlu said in his column on May 30.
But other social media users and some Hürriyet readers disagreed.
“Can it really be called advertisement?” Hürriyet reader Cüneyt Aslan asked. “This is not an advertisement; this is only showing where the funeral is held. All municipalities do this,” another reader, Cemal Acarel, remarked.