REVISED HEADLINE, DECK, REVISED THROUGHOUT; CONDOLENCES ADDED, FUNERAL DETAILS ADDED
By Ali Murat Alhas and Dilan Pamuk
ANKARA (AA) - Ahmet Mesut Yilmaz, who served three times as Turkey’s prime minister during the 1990s, passed away at an Istanbul hospital on Friday. He was 73.
Dr. Ozgur Samilgil, chief of medicine at Florence Nightingale Hospital, announced the passing of Yilmaz, who had suffered from lung cancer in recent years. Yilmaz had undergone brain surgery this May.
Yilmaz, a former chairman of the center-right Anavatan (Motherland) Party, served three times in the prime minister’s chair between 1991 and 1999, holding it for a period of two years in total, and also served in Cabinet posts such as foreign minister.
Born on Nov. 6, 1947, Yilmaz was married and had two children, one of whom died in 2017.
His funeral will be on Sunday at 12 noon (0900GMT). He will be laid to rest place after prayers at Marmara Theology Mosque in Istanbul.
- A loss felt
Many Turkish leaders and politicians expressed grief and condolences over the loss of the former premier.
In a speech, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: "I extend my condolences to all his family, and especially his wife. May Allah forgive his sins, and my condolences to our nation."
Vice President Fuat Oktay said on social media: "I have learned about the passing of the esteemed Mesut Yilmaz, one of our former prime ministers. May Allah’s mercy and grace be on the late Mesut Yilmaz. I extend my condolences to his family and to all the people who loved him."
"I learned of the passing of Mesut Yilmaz, our former prime minister and former chairman of the Anavatan Party, with the greatest grief," Ibrahim Kalin, Turkey’s presidential spokesman, wrote on Twitter.
"I wish Allah’s mercy and grace upon him and extend my condolences to his family and the Turkish people."
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter, “I learned of the passing of our former foreign minister and one of our prime ministers with great sadness. May Allah’s mercy and grace be upon him, may he rest in peace. I extend my condolences to his family."
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People's Party (CHP), said: “I felt great sadness to hear of the passing of one of our former prime ministers, eminent politician and statesman Mesut Yilmaz. I wish Allah’s mercy and grace upon him, and forbearance for his family. Deepest condolences to his family and our nation.”
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu wrote: “We learned of the passing of our former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz with deep sorrow. May Allah’s grace be upon him. My condolences to his family and our nation.”
“I extend my condolences to his wife Berna Yilmaz, his family, and to all his loved ones. May he rest in peace,” said Communication Director Fahrettin Altun.
Expressing his condolences, Ersin Tatar, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyrus (TRNC), said: “May Allah’s grace be on Yilmaz, who made significant contributions to Turkey and did important work to protect our rights on Cyprus.”
Former Prime Minister Tansu Ciller wrote: “Our country has lost a former prime minster of the parliamentary system. We went through the difficulties of the instability brought to our country by the fragmentation of the center- right, which was divided by coups. May he rest in peace.” She went on to express her condolences to his family and the Turkish people.