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ANKARA: Diplomat And Politician Gunduz Aktan Dead At 67

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  • ANKARA: Diplomat And Politician Gunduz Aktan Dead At 67


    Nov 20 2008

    ANKARA - Only a little over a year after he was elected as a deputy
    from the MHP, respected diplomat and commentator Gunduz Aktan dies at
    the age of 67. His special area of interest was the Armenian issue
    and he was a former member of a commission advising the government
    on countering genocide claims

    Veteran diplomat and the deputy of an opposition party Gunduz Aktan,
    67, passed away yesterday due to cardiac problems that besieged him
    for two months.

    "I and the Aktan family lost our father. This is a big pain and
    loss. The Turkish nation lost its invaluable son who dedicated all
    of his life to Ataturk's Republic," said his son Uygar Aktan, in a
    brief statement to the press in front of the Ankara hospital where
    his father died.

    His treatment in Turkey began after he was diagnosed with kidney tumor
    in the United States, said Aktan's doctor Adnan Bulut, adding that
    he died at 02:10 a.m. from heart and liver failure."Unfortunately,
    there was a delay in diagnosis of the disease but later everything
    that needed to be done was done. The death was the will of God," said
    his son. Gunduz Aktan, who served as Turkey's ambassador to Greece,
    Japan and the UN Office in Geneva, joined the ranks of the Nationalist
    Movement Party, or MHP, and as an elected member of Parliament in the
    July 22, 2007 elections. Aktan's death brings the number of vacant
    seats in Parliament to four and the MHP seats to 69.

    "The Turkish diplomacy lost a distinguished member; the MHP lost a
    valuable deputy," said leader of MHP Devlet Bahceli. "Our pain is very
    grave." He called Aktan a "successful diplomat" and a "nationalist
    intellectual." MHP deputies as well as other political party leaders
    and ministers visited the hospital and offered condolences to the
    Aktan family.

    "Today is a painful day for all of us," said Deputy Prime Minister
    Cemil Cicek who knew Aktan since the time of late President Turgut
    Ozal. "His death comes early and as a surprise. May he rest in
    peace." President Abdullah Gul said Aktan's death was a big loss for
    Turkey and noted he had represented Turkey very well.

    Aktan left the Foreign Ministry in 1998. He chaired the Ankara-based
    think tank, the Center for Eurasia Strategic Studies Center, or ASAM,
    and regularly wrote columns in daily Radikal on domestic and foreign
    policy developments between 1998 and 2007. But after joining politics,
    he chose to stop writing.

    "At a historic juncture full of dangers, reason suggests that
    continuing writing is more preferable than joining politics. I think
    my columnist colleagues are cleverer than me," Aktan said to his
    readers in a farewell article published in Radikal on June 9, 2007,
    one month before the early elections when the country was indulged in
    crisis over the failure to elect a president. He wrote that he would
    start doing a job he had never known but said his only hope was the
    conviction that everyone was a "political creature" by birth. "While
    bidding a farewell I don't know what to say to my readers or, to put
    it correctly, to those who read my articlesÃ~I I don't say 'Goodbye'
    as I'm not going too far," concluded Aktan in his last column.

    I'm not going too far His special area of interest was the
    Armenian question and was a former member of a commission advising
    the government on countering genocide allegations. Aktan proposed
    genocide claims could be countered through international arbitration
    and believed Turkish-Armenian relations could be normalized only
    after a resolution of disagreements.

    "Normalization of bilateral ties is out of the question without
    progress on the genocide claims and the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute,"
    he once told the Hurriyet Daily News. He was one of the lobbying
    deputies in the United States against a measure labeling the killings
    of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide. The
    genocide resolution was marked-up by a U.S. House committee in 2007,
    straining ties with Washington.

    Speaking with the Daily News at the time, Aktan called for tough
    sanctions against the United States in retaliation. "Turkey's reaction
    must be to do what is expected: shut down Ä°ncirlik air base and slow
    down U.S. logistics to Iraq via Habur border gate," he stated then.

    A funeral ceremony will take place at the Foreign Ministry and in
    Parliament today and then he will be buried in Istanbul.

    --Boundary_(ID_9Q4WUAhX0/yYM6zLX5WIcg)- -