ISTANBUL — Tarik Akan, an acclaimed Turkish actor who earned accolades for the controversial 1982 film “Yol,” has died after a brief battle with cancer. He was 66.
The Nazim Hikmet Culture and Arts Foundation, of which Akan was a board member, said the actor died early Friday. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said Akan had been receiving treatment for lung cancer at a private hospital in Istanbul.
Akan starred in over 100 films and directed documentaries and television series in a career spanning more than four decades. He was among the country’s leading actors in the 1970s and 1980s and earned an Honorable Mention at the 35th Berlin International Film Festival in 1985 for the film “Pehlivan.”
Akan was imprisoned for 2½ months following Turkey’s 1980 military coup after giving a political speech in Germany. He chronicled his days in prison in a book, “Mother, I Have Lice.”
“Yol”, which earned the top prize at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, dealt with the coup’s aftermath and was banned in Turkey until 1999.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim expressed sorrow for Akan’s death. Culture and Tourism Minister Nabi Avci praised Akan’s work that he said earned him “a special place in Turkey’s cinematic history.”
Akan is survived by his wife and three children. Funeral services will be held Sunday.