Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 27 May 2020

'Designated Survivor': actor responds to controversy over banned episode in Turkey

American-born Turkish actor Troy Caylak says he did not intend his performance as a political statement

Actor Troy Caylak has come forward to weigh in on the controversy surrounding his portrayal of a fictitious Turkish president on the Netflix political thriller Designated Survivor. (Sven Frenzel via Getty Images) TROY CAYLAK
Actor Troy Caylak has come forward to weigh in on the controversy surrounding his portrayal of a fictitious Turkish president on the Netflix political thriller Designated Survivor. (Sven Frenzel via Getty Images) TROY CAYLAK

Actor Troy Caylak has come forward to weigh in on the controversy surrounding his portrayal of a fictitious Turkish president on the Netflix political thriller Designated Survivor.

The American-born Turkish actor said he did not intend for his performance to be viewed as a political statement and was “disappointed by the decision to have this, or any episode, censored from the series.”

Netflix pulled the Family Ties episode from its Turkish service last week after the government in Ankara expressed disapproval, saying it violated censorship laws. Netflix has had a longstanding policy to comply with local regulators.

“We have removed one episode of Designated Survivor from Netflix in Turkey only to comply with local law,” the streaming giant said in a statement on Thursday, April 30, stressing that the episode can still be viewed in other parts of the world.

In the episode, Caylak plays a villainous Turkish leader named Fatih Tuhran, who is challenged by the country’s opposition while travelling to the US to attend a Nato summit to meet US president Tom Kirkman – the show’s lead figure – who is played by Kiefer Sutherland.

"In light of the recent news publications regarding the Designated Survivor season 2 episode 7 takedown in Turkey, I felt that it was important to shed my perspective on the subject," Caylak wrote in an email to The Hollywood Reporter.

He said that the role was a “career-lifting” opportunity, and “a very proud moment for me, my family and my community, regardless of any political views.

"I’m a US-born citizen and extremely grateful to be a working actor and screenwriter in Hollywood. Although I am very proud of my rich Turkish culture and heritage, my taking the role of a fictional Turkish president on an episode of a hit TV show was in no way motivated by the desire to make a political statement."

Updated: May 5, 2020 05:54 PM

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