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Famous And Influential People in Turkey – Part 2

8th May 2016

Turkey’s been the home of many famous people and we’ve already looked at some but five just isn’t enough is it? If you’re planning to move to Turkey or perhaps have already made the move it’s always a good idea to brush up on some famous names.

So let’s take a look at some more of the most famous people in Turkey and remember to check out Part 1 to see some more of Turkey’s famous and influential people both past and present.

Cem Yilmaz

Born in Istanbul Cem Yilmaz is a famous stand-up comedian, filmmaker, musician and cartoonist. Yes he’s certainly a man of many talents isn’t he? He’s had quite the illustrious movie career and even done dubbing work for a number of big movies Westerners might be familiar with like the 2007 Bee Movie for example. And he also starred alongside Russel Crowe in 'The water Diviner'. His work has a comedian is probably what he’s most well-known for though and he’s completed numerous stand up tours around Turkey and even in the United States. 

Kemal Sunal

Also born in Istanbul Kemal Sunal is a Turkish movie star from 1972 to 1999 he appeared in dozens of Turkish films often playing comic roles and he was very popular with the Turkish public. If you ever catch an older Turkish movie on television there’s a good chance Kemal Sunal is in it and he also appeared in a number of Turkish television shows. Despite appearing in so many movies Kemal Sunal was a very private man who preferred to stay out of the media’s spotlight and although he sadly died suddenly in the year 2000. His memory will certainly live on in his great catalogue of work. 

Recep Ivedik/ Şahan Gökbakar (seen in Main Picture)

Ok this might be a little confusing Recep Ivedik is actually a character played by the comedian and actor Şahan Gökbakar. Ivedik shot to fame with the 2008 release of his self-titled film that is a comedy about him trying to win back his childhood love. The more was a massive success in Turkey and even as some overseas fans, it also became the most successful movie in Turkey in 2008. The movies spawned three sequels that were also big successes and are big part of modern Turkish cinema.  

Mimar Sinan

We are really travelling back with this famous name, Mimar Sinan was born in 1488 and was the chief Ottoman Empire architect. While you might not know his name it’s likely you’ll know many of his creations as some still stand today. The Süleymaniye Mosque found in Istanbul is probably his most popular work but it’s believed he worked on and designed over 300 different structures in Turkey during his life. His tomb is also in Istanbul and you might even see his visage on some old Turkish lira bank notes. 

Ismail Akbay

Ismail Akbay was the first Turkish person to work for NASA and over his 31 years with the space agency he worked in a variety roles and on various projects. Including NASA’s ground breaking Apollo, Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz projects. He was born in Bursa in 1930 and was exceptionally gifted with a high mental aptitude and many 1960’s American newspapers dubbed him the "Turkish Villager Who Helped Put Man on the Moon". He was also a prime supporter of Space Camp Turkey and although he sadly died in 2003 his work both in Turkey and overseas will ensure his memory will always live on.

Written by David Varty - YellAli Content Team

Turkish Residence Permit


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