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