Heidi Trautmann

505 - In Memoriam Ali Yaliman, Managing Editor of Cyprus Observer


By Heidi Trautmann , friends and colleagues

Dr. Ata Atun, Colin Mulcahy, Keith Lloyd, Nazif Bosatli, Mesut Günsev, Hikmet Ulucam, Cenk Mutluyakalı and Heidi Trautmann


On Friday night, April 26, I received a phone call from a friend telling me that Ali Yaliman has just passed away suffering a second heart attack, although everyone was hopeful including himself that he would soon be released from hospital and be back among the living. No, it was not to be and we all stood under shock. In the middle of the night – with the help of Burcin Karavelioglu, Public Relations Manager at the GAU College, and her husband – we succeeded to get hold of Serhat Akpinar, founder and chancellor of Girne American University, to tell him the sad news and to ask him to take over control which he so admiringly did over the next few days.

On Monday, 29 April, was the funeral of our friend, we all gathered at the Mosque in Kyrenia where prayers were spoken, and then at the cemetery in Karaoglanoglu where he was buried in the shade of a tree. Thoughts and flowers on the grave were to accompany Ali on his way to another level of existence.

Ali Yaliman was born in Eskişehir on 26 January, 1944. He spent his young years in Eskişehir, and graduated from İstanbul University, Department of English Language and Literature. Eskişehir is a booming city. In the middle of the river Porsuk which flows through the city, there is an island where the locals go to relax in the tea gardens, restaurants, parks and children playgrounds, and the name of this island is 'Yalıman Island'. It is said that Ali's renowned, noble family are the owners of this island. In 1973, he started his career in journalism with Milliyet of Turkey. He lectured 'Communication Techniques' in Marmara University in İstanbul and 'Public Relations of Media' in London School of Public Relations.  He also worked some time in Munich and came to love the jazz cellars in the old students’ city of Schwabing, about which we often talked. With his wife Gülseren, the famous pianist,  he settled in Northern Cyprus in 1999.


Dr. Ata Atun, Prof., Dr., Civil Engineer, writer, political advisor, publisher and columnist in Cyprus Observer  and friend

Crème de la Crème, my friend Yalıman…this term is used for the richest of the rich people in the jet society, but I would like to use this term for my dear friend Ali Yalıman. He was the best of the best people I ever met in my life. 

The Turkish language he used was perfect and flawless. The words he chose carried his kindness at all times. I always admired his personality, knowledge and the way he used to present a request, whether his own or somebody else's. I have a strong feeling that nobody ever said "No" when he asked for a favour.

Rest in peace, dear Ali. You will live in my heart and mind as long as I do and in some of my articles as well. 

Let God's blessings be with you in Heaven.          


Colin Mulcahy, friend and contributor to many issues of Cyprus Observer

Ali was a friend. Not just to me, but to many. His friendship was always expressed in a practical and encouraging way, not by saying, “let me do it” but by saying “Try this”, or Maybe if you...”. If one had an idea, Ali would know how to enhance it in its realisation. He knew how to add a new dimension to something, to give it “a bit of shine” as he would say. More than that, he remembered small kindnesses and would bring the memories into conversation long after, to show his appreciation had endured.

Ali always knew the right person to talk to and the right angle of approach, and he knew how to coax and praise at just the moment that it would have maximum effect. He had an encyclopaedic knowledge and in 10 minutes of conversation he could set fire to a train of thought in the most exciting way. If only he could have written down all he knew.

Ali has left us, but all of us who knew him have been strengthened in some way during his stay with us, and we should all be thankful. His vigour and his lively imagination and intelligence will be greatly missed, but we all have kept a little of it in our minds. Thank you, Ali.

Gülseren was closer than any of us, and Ali adored her, so her loss is greater than ours. We all feel for her and send our friendship and support. May the memories she has sustain and nourish her.


Keith Lloyd, colleague of old times and contributor in Cyprus Observer

A perspective of a fine man: Ali was a true gentleman; refined, unfailingly courteous, and utterly charming, yet with a journalists tenacious interior that made things happen, even when the odds seemed to be stacked against him.

Thus, a short summary of a lovely man over whose sad demise we grieve and mourn this week.

Before, journalists used to strive as one on the News Floor; a chaotic noisy hub with telephones continually ringing, telex machines dominating, fax machines churning out reams of stuff: Sub Editors barking out orders and issuing requests as if life depended on it; well it did if the competition made Stop Press and we’d missed it!!

Ali will have related to those days, having been a News Journalist, in practice and as a Media Studies Tutor for forty plus years.

By the time Ali and I met on the old Cyprus Times in 2005, things had moved on.  We had to embrace technology, which meant that we worked remotely; getting the paper finished and out using internet technology, without meeting each other on a regular basis.

Yet his quiet determination, journalistic tenacity, fairness and understanding always shone through.  Never short tempered, but ever tolerant of others’ errors and mistakes; he embodied the style of a respected elder in a challenging environment, never failing to offer encouragement and tangible support for those under his guidance, either in the office, on the net, or on location.

He was a great supporter of the arts and promoted concerts and other events in North Cyprus with great enthusiasm, especially when his lovely wife Rosa, an accomplished internationally renowned pianist, appeared on the concert platform.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rosa and the family, most of whom live in Turkey; we trust that the vacuum left by Ali’s departure will soon be filled with the joy of having known and loved him, and the good times they surely had together.  Time to grieve, followed by time for thanksgiving, then time for joy & happiness – life moves on, Ali is at peace.  The News Floor is now silent and missing his inspiration. He lives on – in us, his grateful and admiring successors.


Nazif Bozatli, editor, translator, archivar and friend since childhood

Because we are from the same boarding school in Turkey, he was my 'Abi' (elder brother in Turkish) since 1960 and it was always a good feeling for me to have an Abi like Ali Yalıman. He was an intellectual journalist, a real gentleman, a prudent and tolerant friend. His mannerly and sincere smile will never be forgotten. I wish some events and activities in the memory of his name will help remembering the traces of his contributions to the press and classical music festivals of Northern Cyprus. 



Mesut Günsev, friend and News and Arts editor and speaker at ADA TV

You know, there is this trustworthy friend that you can appeal to when you run into a trouble. Just like the captains who know the appropriate ports to shelter in case of storm. You know that he or she is always there for you.  Ali Yalıman was just like that; a brother, a comrade, a friend, a wise man and teacher. We don't have him anymore. 

We shall miss him so much... May he sleep in heavenly light…..

Hikmet Uluçam, artist and former colleague

“For some time I worked with Ali Yaliman at Kibris Newspaper, that was around 1996/1997. He was a good newspaperman and much appreciated. We had lots to talk when I took him home with my car as he did not drive at all. He was a gentleman through and through, inside and outside, transparent, I would say, and…he was true to himself, humble and no pretender.  It saddened me deeply to learn about his death, to have lost a valuable man.”


Cenk Mutluyakalı, editor-in chief at Yeni Düzen and colleague in many newspapers (an excerpt from his column of 29 April, kindly translated by Nazif Bozatlı).

„...An absolute İstanbul gentleman...  His wife, a world famous pianist... He knows cultures from different parts of the world, and uses his knowledge in articles and translations; he lived his life with a strong taste for music, supported music festivals and loved literature... And always very gentle, very indulgent, very productive...  For long years, Ali Yalıman wrote excellent essays on Cyprus... he was always on the lookout for new things, either by reading a nice text or when an idea sprung up in his mind, he was always searching... Yesterday I read, ‘He passed away in Lefkosa State Hospital in the age of 69’... I hadn’t even heard about his illness... He was a smiling face, a productive person who had found his way in this geography; an extinct storage of knowledge and a monument of decency who lived among us... I hope someone will compile his essays in a book... Farewell Ali Abi...” 


Heidi Trautmann, friend and essay writer for Cyprus Observer

I still see his friendly face in front of me, hear him telling me stories that happened on the slippery boards of the world stage, hear him disclosing the wheelings and dealings of politicians and the dark deeds under the apparently clean cover of people in power and I still hear him laugh from all his heart in-spite of everything.

It was his world, the world of journalism, his daily food and he had the intimate knowledge where to dig.  I often sat there listening and thought under these conditions the world will go under within the next few days.

It is seven or eight years ago that I started working for Ali Yalıman; the first paper was Cyprus Times, the English sister newspaper of Kıbrıslı and the first interview I did for him was with Ali Nazmi Borova, the circus man and sculptor whose works in stone are still  to be seen along the Lapta-Girne road. We met again for a short time both working for Zoom Magazine and then on the very day Ali Yalıman brought his first copy of Cyprus Observer to the printing house I met him again and he asked me if I would like to join him in this task. We did 62 issues together, the 63rd has come out on April 27, which he directed from his bed in hospital, from which he hoped to be soon released.  I still hear him saying that he wanted to make positive journalism, not to bathe in dirty little stories of society, highlight the good things and try to entertain people and not to frighten them away.

Ali Yalıman was a man who loved music and he loved Gülseren his wife, the pianist; how proud he was when she had her concert in Bellapais last year after so many years; how devastated he was when she had her breakdown some months ago and how dearly he looked after her.

I believe that life is like a garden with two gates, by one you enter when you are born, the other you use when you return the leasing contract. During the years that are granted to you, you will try to cultivate your garden and make good harvests and when one day you close the last gate behind you, you will know that you have left your garden in good order for the next generation to benefit from.

Thank you, Ali Yalıman, you were a good gardener! My thoughts are with Gülseren!





Ali and Gülseren in Bellapais
Ali and Gülseren in Bellapais

Ali and friends Nazif Bozatli and Ersin Taser
Ali and friends Nazif Bozatli and Ersin Taser

Ali and Gülseren with Ilker and Rezzan Nevzat
Ali and Gülseren with Ilker and Rezzan Nevzat

Ali and Hikmet Ulucam at the Cactus Parliament
Ali and Hikmet Ulucam at the Cactus Parliament

Ali and German Ambassadress and Heidi Trautmann
Ali and German Ambassadress and Heidi Trautmann

Ali with Colin Mulcahy and Minister of Posts on the occasion of publication of Royal Wedding Stamps
Ali with Colin Mulcahy and Minister of Posts on the occasion of publication of Royal Wedding Stamps

Cyprus Observer Fest
Cyprus Observer Fest

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