Young Turkish actor voices sorrow for children killed in Gaza

Young Turkish actor voices sorrow for children killed in Gaza

Humanity loses meaning when right to life is taken away, says Emre Uctepe, actor on renowned Turkish historical drama Resurrection: Ertugrul, weighing in on rising child toll in besieged Palestinian enclave

By Muhammed Yaylali and Burak Bir

CARDIFF, Wales (AA) — For Turkish actor Emre Uctepe, World Children's Day was a somber affair as it passed by this year while hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children in Gaza continued to suffer the horrors of Israeli attacks.

In an interview with Anadolu, Uctepe, known for playing the young founder of the Ottoman Empire in the hit historical drama “Resurrection: Ertugrul,” joined the many voices expressing concern over the situation in the Gaza Strip. He was 10 years old when the first season came out in 2014.

Over 6,000 children have been killed so far in the Gaza Strip, hammered by a relentless Israeli air and ground campaign following a cross-border attack by Palestinian group Hamas on Oct. 7.

Authorities in Gaza have said that the death toll from the Israeli attacks has surged past 14,500.

“There are children in the world today who have had their most basic right, the right to life, taken away from them, and the most striking example of this is, unfortunately, the children in Gaza,” Uctepe said on the sorrow that marked World Children's Day, held on Nov. 20.

“If you take that (right) away, humanity has lost its meaning,” he said, underlining the need and potential impact that greater media and public reaction can have for change.

Illustrating the gravity of the peril that children in Gaza face, the UN International Children's Emergency Fund’s (UNICEF) top official said earlier this week that on average, children in Gaza have been killed per day for weeks.

“In other words, the Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child,” said Catherine Russell, executive director of the fund.

- Resurrection’s reception in Pakistan

Touching on how people reacted to him after his performing in the series, Uctepe said he received much praise for his role in Resurrection, particularly from Pakistan.

“Many of my fellow actors, both brothers and sisters, also received tremendous reactions, whether in the media or on various programs,” he noted.

Uctepe said that he had never been to Pakistan, but that through social media, messages, and face-to-face encounters, including on their trips to Europe, they had received “incredibly beautiful and enjoyable responses.”

He went on to say that many Pakistani people he saw during his visits to European countries were telling him about their positive thoughts.

“It's a feeling for me that words can't describe,” said the young actor.

“I hope it's a sentiment that everyone with aspirations and dreams in this direction gets to experience.”

Often described as the Turkish Game of Thrones, the historical drama is woven around 13th century Anatolia and tells the story prior to the establishment of the Ottoman Empire. It illustrates the struggle of Ertugrul Gazi, father of the empire's founder.

In addition to having been aired on Turkish national broadcaster TRT from 2014 to 2019, Ertugrul was being shown in over 70 countries worldwide.

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