A pretty familiar one; Okan Bayulgen…

So much so that, we can’t desist ourselves from watching him for 5 days of the week. When we turn on the television, we hear his voice in the commercials. He is a real media king. And our thoughts about him are pretty clear! We accept or reject him with an emotion without a grey. When he was about to take a step for a new project, we talked about his life norms, concerns and his stance about arts by coming together. What about getting one step closer to a man who has a whole different perspective?  Öyle ki haftanın beş günü onu izlemekten kendimizi alamıyoruz.

Are you concerned about the future?

I get concerned about everything and complain about them like everyone. And I see it as normalization. Because we, as a community, believe that we can normalize by complaining and concerning about everything. Into the bargain, what that makes us to experience; therapy, understanding, rehabilitation, reasoning? I don’t know what it is but I think that complaining is good and healthy. Of course, the thought of how far we can complain keeps my mind busy. I think, as long as we don’t get lazy, we can complain. Because when you get lazy, you’d drink in a venue and then you may become a person who complains about everything. You may become a sex maniac by making love all the time or you may attempt something that you won’t be able to get out. The things that you’d never survive when you sink in are; alcoholism, gambling, drugs, shopping and obesity. Everything can be treated but there is no treatment for shopping and gambling. The thing that leads us to those is the system. System sugars the pill and makes you a shopping maniac. And my hope about the future at this point is saying “Definitely no!”.


People have begun to search for different solutions after those emotions which provoke anxiety in the whole world. For example, alternative energy sources are produced for not to overbalance the ecological life. Have you got a life area which you have developed for you and your family in consequence of the natural events like returning to natural life or global warming?

Every clause you have told going backwards from global warming can be discussed in their own rights. People try to produce brilliant alternatives. I dream about other things instead of a slackened city. For example, I can’t think of some business centers like Maslak and Levent which corrupt the traffic in Istanbul. I want to move all the people who suffer pain, get driven to their works in two hours in the mornings, get left to their homes en masse in the evenings like in the Metropolis movie, come to the houses without the energy to show their love to their wives and children, already gave up themselves to Eskisehir, Konya or Antalya. For now, some of the Call Centers are moved but not all of them. Already, the aim of people is taking their cars and houses to the next level. So, they can grow their children in good schools to be opened in those places and ride bicycles in the weekends by receiving a good salary. I think that working is indispensable and there is nothing to do about that. That’s about the population. The age that we live in requires us to work. I also have times to breathe. When I’m just in the center of the system, I leave and stay out of the business. When I’m out of the system, I begin to question the system. And then, I understand that this is not good for my mood. I realize that I rave and get back to the system again.

As digital photography gets widespreaded, millions of photographs range through the internet in the name of art. Also, a lot of people adopt the photographer and artist identity. Do you think that there is an artistic depression because of the popularity of the photography? Is the art receiver reached or a high resolution image satisfies the people?

The proliferation of digital photography seems like digital music, cinema and everything which are digital to me. We can’t say “Don’t take photos!” to anyone as we don’t say “Don’t play guitar!” to anyone. Why don’t we like everyone taking photos whereas we like people playing guitar or piano? Because the audio has revolutionized long before the visual, the pieces have fallen into place. The people working with audio know how much they use analog and digital. The people struggling with visuals are aware of that as well. In this respect, I still use my analog machines with love. Think about it, when gassy pen occurred, did we toss the toiles out or destroyed the painting brushes when we could draw pictures via the computer? No. Therefore, I am not concerned about the people to take photos and share them on the Internet. Just as no one becomes Jimmy Page by playing guitar, no one will become the recognized and loved photography artists by taking photos. It would be really good if they could, I’m a party to this. My anger will just be like that at this point; when especially the digital guys lay down the law, I say “Duh!” or so, that’s all.

How the education that you received in France affected your stance?

I can’t say that I received an education in France. It’s truer to say that I have educated myself in the streets there. I think that I gained a formation by studying theatre in Istanbul.

How the multicultural structure of Istanbul affects you, are there factors which direct your point of view?

Frenchs babysitters, coming for my daughter, Istanbul, can be the ones that I’d choose as a reference for this question. Because they come to Istanbul from France at the age of 20 and fall in love with this hell. Thinking that there is a great future for them at here, they hope to find a branch to hold in this forest. And I think about that, if even a French thinks like that coming here, why don’t I enjoy this country? It’s not because the people see here like that. Beginning from your birth in a city, when you make a comment about it, you always are obliged to talk about the past by watching the city, living in the city. It’s like “There was a two-storey house, there was a restaurant over there, there was a grocery store out there, there was a street and etc…” and you begin to look for them. And nostalgie begins to delight you in conformity with huzzam atmosphere of this city.


Does it scare you that the traditional mass communication instruments of the media transform into social media after a while and the blogs, facebook and twitter take the place of classic media? Do you think that the media and the television will loose their footings?

At this point, this situation doesn’t scare me, it lights me up. But there’s no improvement as you mentioned. I mean, social networking sites are just social networking sites. There are publications on internet for the ones who use internet technology. Of course, the character of the business changes a bit due to the way you perform the business and the technology but professional principles don’t change at all. But social networking sites are not media organs. A democratic communion is present there, and that communion where no one is the king is nice.

If we talk about the youth channel, is this a real project or just a rumour? What are the developments about that?

Regie room has been built two days ago. We now send signals to the satellite. The ones who watch TV via satellite can watch the channel. It means that, there is something like that and it will continue. This is not an idea but a clear situation. I think that the function of the television has changed from just being a furniture standing there and making people look at itself into a broadcasting closely watched both physically and personally. So, I try to perform a business which keeps company with people. And the thing that I do at TV8 is something like that, the motto “You won’t be alone 5 nights in the week!” has been created to serve a purpose. The aim was to make people say “What will we do on the remaining two days?” and I’m very happy that we have achieved this. Now, I don’t mention the one who lives alone in his/her home by saying “You won’t be alone”. The people who live in a house in the numbers of 4-5 are alone in front of their monitors. Such as the father watching television on his laptop or the mother watching television while cooking in the kitchen… I think that the display that we face should show friendly things to us. Therefore, this will stylistically affect the studio that we broadcast and the contents of the broadcasting. There are programs here. There won’t be music or video clip broadcasting just because its name is youth television. Its name, youth television, especially comes from its own contents and dynamism. I mean, it’s a friendship program naturally. Do you watch a photography program everyday whose duration is an hour? Yes, you do. Or do you watch a fashion photography, or a movie that you buy from a gift shop of a museum? You do. Do you watch a program about books? You do. But this is relevant to presentation. I won’t find a brand new program for television; the subjects of the people are already certain. But instead of so called big, garish things, I try to do a friendly thing which is more intimate and keeps its distance with the audience in a more clever way. The thing that I want to do is completely this. The reason that Muhallebi Kralı, which I perform in Tuesday nights, receives more rating than almost all the other programs is its process of a basic concept beginning from very simple things like a drug prospectus towards more complexity and something which gives rise to thoughts. I achieved to make the people, especially the youngsters to watch the programs, which sometimes last for 3 or 4 hours, almost without taking breath. I see the reaction by reading the comments on Twitter and the collaborative dictionaries.

Well, on the other hand, you say “The life is on the streets! Television is for elders and children”. Doesn’t the idea of establishing a youth channel contradict with that?

You both say don’t smoke and ventilate that room. Or as a doctor, you both smoke and treat the ones who smoke. That’s completely what I do. Youngsters watch television in anyway, besides, that’s my job; broadcasting.



You present original contents for years without changing your stance. I think that your awareness creates your difference. What can be done to create awareness in the community?

I’m not a man who has taken such social duties. If you remember, when I appeared as a madcap, looking like some kind of anarchist who lets go everything, I didn’t look like someone with such worries. I already don’t have such a purpose and I never had. When I began to appear on the television, I knew that this country had always betrayed the patriots and the ones who had thought about it. Now, I know that the people who have an itching palm will not respect what I say but the amount of money I have. I’m sure about that. I don’t have a habit to confess when I get home after the program. I have my own ideas and principles about what to say and how to say. I do nothing but practice those. I’m just a solitary citizen. I have my own thoughts and I present them. I have never taken a task in the name of an institution or an idea or to raise awareness through the youth. My only aim is preparing a reasonable entertainment program in conformity with my principles. I don’t want to be ashamed of what I’ve done and I want to get the answer “Yes, I would” from myself when I ask myself the question “Would you watch the thing you’ve done?”. That’s all…

It was pretty clear that you didn’t do anything to raise awareness through the youth in the past but it’s different at the moment, we watch programs which are more oriented to raise awareness, from you…

I have always been aware of what I do. I am aware of what people want from me. The audience doesn’t want to see the things that they expect from me on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, on Fridays and Saturdays. They would like the Friday and Saturday programs to be “sexier”. Attractive, hot, shocking and sometimes pretty funny… Because we demand all of these in an instant. How much can you bear if I put you into a house with five old professors? Therefore, I create an entertainment program by synthesizing clever, a bit banal, a bit modern and annoying things.

Is there any weak point about your life, a person or an object that causes you to get excited, to perplex and think about that even when you hear its name?

I don’t want to give a name but it can be some of the thinkers. Maybe my daughter’s name but not her real name Istanbul. There is a nickname that we have given to her. Hearing the voice of my daughter, my wife, hearing some of the friends addressing me, good guitars, good cameras, good motorcycles, some cities and some foods…

Although you have received education in various fields of arts, is the reason that you show performance especially in front of the cameras, your resentment against theatre or is this more joyous?

Theatre is not something to resent. When I was making television program, Ferhan brother (Sensoy) called me to his theatre and I ran there immediately. Theatre is not something that ended for me. I do a lot of things. Today this, tomorrow that… Moreover, all of these are present in the business that I do now. Otherwise, I can’t manage that organism and I already wouldn’t have such a brain. I would be just a piece of it. Because I enthuse about the speed of the quickness of the television, I have such a possibility to prepare something that I thought yesterday or one hour ago and bring it to the table immediately. We speeded up so much now. When we receive the death news of an important artist, it takes 5-10 minutes to prepare a short documentary about him/her, vocalize, edit and broadcast. I talked about a sad situation. In fact, finding different subjects for each day and being able to discuss it and having professor friends who attend to so many programs with pleasure… These are very nice feelings.


What is the reason for choosing and loving Galata as a living space?

I had chosen Cihangir in my youth and lived there. Now, I don’t live there because Cihangir is like an open air cast agency. I’m afraid of playing in a TV series accidentally. In there, the cars come up and bring the people to the sets of TV series. I don’t want to be a victim of such a mistake. The dynamism of Galata is very nice. I had a girlfriend in 1980s who lived in Dogan Apartment. Her parents used to like me and therefore, I had a lot of friends here for ages. Some of them still live here and some of them died because they were older than me… Galata is very important for me emotionally. Also, it’s very nice to live in a building that I like architecturally in Istanbul. It’s not a place full of rich people who put on airs to each other but full of modest people. Rental fees are put up nowadays and unfortunately, I have a share in that. But the people living here are very nice, pristine people. I’m pretty pleasant that I’m with them. And the youngsters who come here are generally artists. It’s not a place with money present, it doesn’t include lack of manners and I love here in this respect.

Is there an event or a feeling that you miss or feel uncomfortable about missing?

I miss nothing, nothing… Not feeling uncomfortable about missing but there are people that I feel sad when I miss them. But I don’t miss anything that I can do again. I don’t miss a woman, I don’t miss anything about money. I just miss the people I have lost and the death, unfortunately, separates people.

Are there any happenings about your career or life which become meaningless when you attribute a meaning to them?

There is something on the theatre stage, especially during the practices. In concern with pronunciation or stage technique, if you repeat a word or a sentence over and over again, that loses its meaning. The players of absurd theatre know this very well. Absurd is one of the literary principles of the theatre. The simplest facts and definitions lose their meanings. Our life is a little like that. In my opinion, it loses its meaning technically.

Do you think of a constitution to support young artists?

I carry on a mouthpiece task for a lot of people. I can give them a microphone and they can announce their works to the people they want. So, it becomes unnecessary for them to attend marriage or cooking shows. In this respect, I perform my job directly, I mean, I can make people to meet each other. It’s like that in any case; rockers have found their first audience in a bar in Berlin, French writers have met each other in a café, they have faced each other on a street… There are such meeting centers in the world. Now, I try to make the television program, especially the youth channel, one of these centers.

There is a consumption frenzy which increases every other day. This is not only focused on consumption products, we also see the people consuming each other in the cyber world. If you had an option, which period would you like to live in?

1970s were good. For example, there were pornographic movies recorded in a plane, now, we don’t even see a love scene in the plane. Everything is searched, we put the liquids into the nylon bags, we get stressed for our creams which are more than 100 or 150 ml. Therefore, love movies can’t be made in the plane. However, we had watched pornographic movies which have taken place in cockpit. You see, the planes have lost their charms…

What is your connection with TV8?

I can put it on the line, I’m not a partner of TV8. There is a partnership with TV8 about providing content to the company but I’m not a partner of TV8. I didn’t come here for money. If you reach my standarts, you already can receive the similar amounts of money from many institutions. And they don’t wait for you to want those amounts, they already offer you. I think that the broadcasting is not about video. Broadcasting is to produce continuously. It should be in world standards like certain hours of TV series, certain hours of studio programs, certain hours of children programs. You can’t publish a newspaper as only a third page or an economy page. So, a national channel can’t be only about TV series. So, I have finished with the channels that we point as big channels but which won’t be so big soon. They can make a program, they can be a participative of any program but they won’t be big channels anymore. They can be big distributors, big platforms, big content producers but they won’t be big by themselves. With this vision of mine, I accelerate this process. When I was up to transfer to TV8, the ones who had thought like “He will be lost when he’s gone” were wrong. And they confessed this to me. The thing that I wanted to do was not proving myself to someone but following the right way in my own profession. I’m not glad that my friends were wrong, I wish they had a vision and we could act in unison.

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