Well-known Turkish journalist Birand passes away

Well-known Turkish journalist Birand passes away
# 17 January 2013 18:03 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Mehmet Ali Birand, a well-known Turkish journalist, Hürriyet Daily News columnist and chief news editor of private channel Kanal D, passed away today in hospital.

Birand had undergone a laparoscopic cholecystectomy in order to replace a stent at the American Hospital in Istanbul on Jan. 16.

The journalist, 72, had been receiving cancer treatment for a long period.

Birand, who began his career at daily Millyet in 1964, had become a important figure in Turkish journalism.

Birand, who covers political and diplomatic affairs, has been practicing journalism in Turkey since the late 1970s. He interviewed numerous world leaders in the late Cold War era, including then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Arafat and Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Birand's program “32. Gün” (32nd Day) became a brand name in news broadcasting in the 1980s and trained many well-known TV journalists in Turkey.

He also witnessed several key political developments abroad and at home, including military coups, and he received harsh criticism from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for his stance on the Kurdish issue in the 1990s.

Birand likewise drew ire from secular circles when he confessed that most Turkish seculars had been happy to see a military intervention on Feb. 28, 1997, rather than live under a government led by a conservative party.

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