Saturday, 24 January 2009
Turkish actor confesses Cyprus war crimes, then says he made it all up
Above is a clip from yesterday's RIK news that includes the interview on Turkish television with actor Attila Olgac in which he admits that during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 he cold-bloodedly murdered 10 Greek Cypriot prisoners.
From the interview, it appears that Olgac is hardly repentant about his crimes and there is no evidence that this is a man who needs to unburden himself of the evil he has committed. This is not a confession from a man racked by guilt and shame, or overwhelmed by compassion towards his victims and their families; this is a man who appears proud of what he did and the psychological effects on him seem to have been minimal.
In the second part of this RIK news clip, Turkey correspondent Anna Andreou reveals that after describing his role in the invasion of Cyprus on Turkish TV, Olgac proceeded to give an interview to the Turkish newspaper Radikal in which he once again admitted that while in Cyprus he went on a killing spree. According to Andreou, Olgac repeated the story he told on television about murdering his first victim, a 19-year-old Greek Cypriot prisoner, for spitting in his face during interrogation.
The third part of the clip is a statement from Olgac to RIK in which he retracts the confessions he made to the Turkish media and claims instead that he is writing an anti-war screenplay and this prompted him to confuse fantasy with reality.
So, what do we have? Either this contemptible man in describing to two Turkish media sources his role in the massacres that took place in Cyprus in 1974 revealed the truth or something approximating to it, not forgetting an actor's tendency to dramatise and embellish. Or he made up his involvement in the killings; maybe, as he said, because he's an idiot who can't distinguish between fantasy and reality, or, ham that he is, as a means to draw attention to himself, or to impress the three pretty Turk women on the TV programme with him. Or the version of events he described is largely accurate – we know for certain that the Turks committed atrocities in Cyprus of the type described by Olgac – and in a demonstration of abject cowardice – and/or as a result of pressure from the Turkish state – he is now backtracking, having realised that he has implicated himself – and the Turkish government and military – in war crimes.
Anyway, here's a translated transcript of what Olgac says in the interview on Turkish Star TV:
OLGAC: They said to me 'take this Thomson [gun]; you think people only get killed on the stage? Go and kill in real life'. This is such a terrible thing. For a certain period, you live with the shock. You can't grasp if it's reality, or a game, but when you see people die left and right, when you see the scenes you feel a terrible fear. After, you get used to it and you become a killing machine. Without thinking about it. All you do is kill.
FIRST WOMAN: Did you kill?
OLGAC: Of course. I killed 10.
FIRST WOMAN: You killed 10 people?
OLGAC: Yes. After I returned [from Cyprus], for a long time I couldn't eat meat because I continuously saw corpses, reeking corpses. In the heat, the corpses had become bloated and started to smell, because of the high temperatures. (Note: the Turkish invasion took place in July and August).
SECOND WOMAN: When you killed for the first time, what did you feel?
OLGAC: At first I cried, then I got used to it.
FIRST WOMAN: Did you come face to face with anyone [you killed]?
OLGAC: Yes. He spat in my face. His hands were tied. My commander told me 'kill him', then he left. From a distance, I pulled the trigger and I killed him. He was 19-years-old.
SECOND WOMAN: Was he armed?
OLGAC: No, his hands were tied; he was a prisoner.
SECOND WOMAN: Did you ever see him again in your dreams?
OLGAC: Yes. I'm an artist. I'm a human being.
And here's the translation of the retraction Olgac made to RIK:
'For a long time, I've been writing an anti-war screenplay. When they asked me on the live programme if I was a veteran, in my mind reality got mixed up with my screenplay. The men I was killing in my screenplay, I described as if I were killing them in real life. I wanted to shock people on the TV programme and see how they reacted to [the ideas in] my screenplay. If there'd been more time on the programme, I would have made this clear.'