Turkish screen legend Cüneyt Arkın makes debut in Ottoman TV drama Kuruluş: Osman

Hit television series Kuruluş: Osman returned for its second season tonight with an exciting new name added to the cast, Cüneyt Arkın.

Arkın’s new role is the head of ‘Aksakallılar’ – meaning ‘the white beards’, or wise male elders of the Turkish tribes of Anatolia.

The octogenarian is seen giving advice to Osman, played by Burak Özçivit, in the first episode of Season 2 of the record-breaking historical drama about the life of Osman I, the founder of Ottoman Empire.

The new season got off to a flying start, with the return of Osman’s father Ertuğrul Gazi, played by Tamer Yiğit. Two new villains, Flatyos and Aya Nikola, also make their entrance, as Osman’s Kayı tribe come under attack.

There has been a big buzz in Turkey since news of Arkın’s appearance in the drama first surfaced a few weeks ago.

Plagued with ill-health, the 83-year-old star has not worked in any new film and TV projects since 2014, when he featured in comedy-horror movie Gulyabani and crime thriller Panzehir (Antidote).

Arkın is one of Turkey’s biggest and most beloved cinema stars, appearing in over 300 films and television series during his long career, which started back in 1964.

A martial arts expert, Arkın was often cast as the Turkish hero in his earlier roles, which included many historical dramas about the early Ottomans, such as Malkoçoğlu Cem Sultan and Battal Gazi.

Cüneyt Arkın in Ottoman historical movie Battal Gazi (1973)


He also has a cult international following for his performance in the lead role of 1982 film Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saves The World, also known as ‘Turkish Star Wars’). The low-budget fantasy martial arts film, recently digitally remade, is famous for featuring bootlegged scenes from Star Wars.

Arkın’s return to the small screen was announced by Mehmet Bozdağ, one of the producers of Kuruluş: Osman, who wrote on Twitter:

“Why is he so loved? Why is he everyone’s hero? Because he speaks with his heart. He looks with his heart. We talked about the new season and character with this beautiful heart. Welcome Cüneyt Arkın”

Kuruluş: Osman is broadcast weekly on Wednesday evenings on ATV, and the entire series is also available to watch via ATV’s YouTube channel.