Top journalist dies during Saudi trip with President Erdogan

Hasan Karakaya
Hasan Karakaya

Turkish journalist Hasan Karakaya

A prominent Turkish journalist Hasan Karakaya, 58, who was accompanying President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his Saudi trip, died of a massive heart attack in the holy city of Madinah on Thursday.

“His body was flown to Turkey by the Turkish president’s private aircraft later in the day,” said Yunus Demirer, Turkish ambassador, while speaking via phone from Madinah today.

“Karakaya, editor-in chief of Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Akit, sustained the heart attack at the Madinah hotel where he was staying,” said Demirer, while offering his condolences to the bereaved family and friends. After receiving first aid from the Turkish presidency’s health team, Karakaya was transferred to the King Fahd Hospital in Madinah, where he was pronounced dead.

The Turkish president, who was informed of Karakaya’s death, rushed to the Madinah hospital to pay his respects to the journalist. Erdogan also conveyed his condolences to Karakaya’s wife, Aysel Karakaya, and Yeni Akit’s owner Mustafa Karahasanoglu.

The Turkish president enjoyed close relations with Karakaya, who was a supporter of Erdogan and the political party called AKP.

According to Turkish media reports, Erdogan cut his trip short after the death of Karakaya and decided to return to Turkey, one day earlier than scheduled.

The journalist, known for his scathing writing style, started his journalism career in the 1970s and after a stint in several Turkish dailies as a journalist and managing editor, he joined Akit daily, which later changed its name to Yeni Akit.

Besides being a prominent name in media circles, Karakaya was also a member of “Wise People,” a government-sponsored delegation of intellectuals founded in 2013 to raise awareness on the “reconciliation process” to end terrorism in southeastern Turkey and restore the rights of the Kurdish community.

He was also associated with some private social initiatives.

On hearing about the death, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu conveyed their condolences to Karakaya’s family, while fellow journalists across the board in Turkey expressed their grief over Karakaya’s death.

Yeni Akit is a well-known daily Turkish newspaper.

Founded way back 2010, Yeni Akit is popularly known as an Islamic Turkish newspaper.


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