Ankara may not be as well known for its creative and artistic scene as Istanbul, but a long list of celebrities did make their way from the Turkish capital to the big time. Whether it’s the silver screen or the music industry, here are some of the most well known Ankara natives.
Virtuoso pianist and composer, Fazıl Say has been the recipient of numerous international awards and is considered a genius. Having composed his first piano sonata at the age of 14, Say uses Turkey’s rich musical folklore to create his masterful pieces.
Turkish journalist, and documentary filmmaker, Can Dündar was the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet until 2016. One of Turkey’s most well known media figures, Dündar has published more than twenty books and produced TV programs for channels such as CNN Türk and NTV.
One of Turkey’s most important concert pianists, İdil Biret began her career at the age of 16 and has performed with the world’s most distinguished orchestras. Known for her interpretations of the Romantic repertoire, the talented musician has made more than 80 recordings.
Once known as Turkey’s wealthiest person, Vehbi Koç was an entrepreneur and philanthropist and the founder of the Koç Group, which continues to be one of the country’s largest collection of companies. Voted Businessman of the Year in 1987, Koç began his career working at a small grocery store in Ankara which his father opened in 1917.
One of the members of MFÖ, quite a legendary Turkish band, Mazhar Alanson is one of the country’s most important songwriters. A man of many talents, Alanson is also known for his successful acting career.
Having acted in more than 120 films, Filiz Akın is one of Turkey’s most famous actresses from the 1960s and 1970s cinematic era. With her long blond hair and powerful gaze, Akın was discovered after she won a competition held by a local magazine.
Another famous actor from same cinematic era, Kartal Tibet is not only known for his iconic moustache but also for his role as Tarkan, the warrior of Attila the Hun. After acting in more than 100 films, Tibet began directing films after his retirement.
One of Turkey’s most important alternative rock bands, maNga has won several awards for their unique sound that mixes Anatolian melodies with electronic components. In 2010 the Ankara band also represented their country at the famous Eurovision Song Contest.
One of Turkey’s most talented musicians, Nil Karaibrahimgil is known for her unique lyrics and sometimes eccentric style. With five studio albums to her name, Nil is also a master of improvisation on stage.