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(Hürriyet Newspaper, 29 February 2012)
The news that appeared in the Turkish press, including Hürriyet, on
Monday about 'famous Turkish photographer David Natu' having died
in a traffic accident in Colombia was bogus. There is no David Natu. An
individual named Sezer Gök used this name and allegedly hoodwinked
both the press and hundreds of others.
The news report that was passed by Anatolian Agency and Doğan News
Agency and printed in quite a few newspapers announced that the body
of 'Turkish photographer David Natu who lived in New York' would be
buried on 3 March in Izmir. But when Natu's family could not be located
in Izmir suspicions began to rise. And when it was understood that the
photograph of the 'accident' that appeared in the Turkish press was of
a truck crash in Missouri and that the picture of the injured person was
actually that of singer Barış Akarsu (who died five years ago) in
intensive care, the truth came out.
There is no Turkish photographer named David Natu who lived in New
York. Sezer Gök (40) of Izmir entered the U.S. on a student visa and
tricked hundreds of Turks living in New York by using the name David
Natu. In order to escape from his 'victims' Gök allegedly sent the news
of his own death to the Turkish media.
A Turk who works in advertising in New York, Armağan Yılmaz, lost
3,000 dollars to Gök and he said that 'he told us that his professional
name was David Natu and that he had taken second in a world-wide
photography competition. So we said 'let's work together.' But over time
we learned that he duped everybody. He rented homes that belonged to
others to students coming from Turkey. We were surprised when we
heard the news of his death. But even after the news we were still getting
messages from him saying 'I'm in Turkey.' We heard that he was really
in Orlando. His phone is shut off.'
The only person who spoke face to face with David Natu was Habertürk's
New York correspondant Elif Kask. Sezer Gök introduced himself to her
as David Natu and the interview was published in Habertürk with the
headline 'I want to photograph Murat Boz (a Turkish singer) naked in
New York.' Kask explained how she was fooled this way: 'I got a
message from David Natu's assistant Burcu Ürge saying 'he' known in
America but not in Turkey. I would be glad if you could help in intro-
ducing David to Turkey.' I looked at their website and saw that the
photographs were fabulous. So I wrote the report and decided to
introduce him to Turkey.'
Burcu Ürge added that 'I knew he was a phony. He didn't know English.
He fooled all of us.'