Ahmet Ertegün (1923-2006)
Mr. Ahmet Ertegün, who had achieved success admired globally, and who until the last moments of his life did not loose his creativity, entrepreneurship, and his excitement of produce something new, has been a great and beloved friend for me, my wife and whole of Turkey.
After disappointments lasting for long periods, he had noticed that Turkey had achieved a new and dissimilar political momentum within the last 5 years. He has shared the excitement of the building of this New Turkey with us, with our government, and with all people that love Turkey. The new and successful foreign profile of Turkey and its increasing importance on international matters were also exhilarating to Ahmet Ertegün. In recent years he has been involved more then ever with Turkey and acted as a volunteer and senior ambassador of Turkey.
Ertegun and Bagis at a meeting in Washington DC
He always has been a modest volunteer ready to use his best endeavors for Turkey. He never denied his support for our political, diplomatic, and cultural endeavors in the USA. He has been the unseen supporter of lobby activities of Turkey, not only in the USA but throughout the world. Many projects have gained significance with his support. To Ahmet Ertegün, Turkey always has been a priority. Turkey was everything to Ahmet Ertegün.
The contributions to Turkey by his grandfather Hezarfen Edhem Efendi, one of the great marbler of the previous century, and his father Münir Ertegün, former Turkish ambassador to the Washington, has continued with Ahmet Ertegün, and with him the family "Ertegün" will never be forgotten.
Unfortunately, he passed away before the "Order of Merit" granted to him by a decree of the Cabinet Council could be presented to him. This is an immense cause of sorrow for me.
Besides his contributions to our nation, Ahmet Ertegün also had important contributions to the world peace by succeeding in bringing together the blacks and the whites and by being one of the few persons taking initiative against racism in the USA.
To categorize him as a "businessman" or "the founder of Atlantic Records" is not enough to describe Ahmet Ertegün. Discovering today's global musicians when they were young and unknown and opening them the doors to fame, Ahmet Ertegün also was a person changing the lives of these musicians and adding color to the world with the music he created. I never will forget the love and respect these world renown artist had for Ahmet Ertegün, and their addressing "Dear Ahmet".
Now he is together with his beloved brother Nasuhi, whom he missed very much, and his dear friend Arif Mardin. It is not a coincidence that these three names became the most creative names of the music world.
We have lost Ahmet Ertegün, but everyday, somewhere around the world, a music record carrying the signature of Ahmet Ertegün will be played. Ahmet Ertegün will be living in the hearts of his friends.
May God have mercy on him, and with this thoughts and me and my wife extend our condolences to his family and his friends.