Umit Enginsoy, veteran Turkish journalist and correspondent for Defense News, died at his Ankara home Dec. 31. He was 52. A preliminary medical report cites the reason of his death as an accidental fatal head injury. (Courtesy photo)
ANKARA — Umit Enginsoy, veteran Turkish correspondent for Defense News since 1992, died at his Ankara home Dec. 31. He was 52. A head injury caused by a fall in his home was the cause of his death, according to a preliminary medical report.
Enginsoy played a pivotal role in helping Defense News expand its coverage beyond Western Europe and was a frequent collaborator with other correspondents on developments around the world.
“Umit was part of a dynamic duo with Burak Ege Bekdil who together covered Turkey’s security scene better than anyone,” said Defense News Editor Vago Muradian. “I know I speak for anyone who knew Umit that we will miss him very much, not only as a colleague, but as a kind and gentle man.”
Rick Barnard, founder and editor of Defense News for many years, described Enginsoy as “a dogged reporter, totally reliable, who opened up the world of aerospace in Turkey for us.”
Barbara Opall-Rome, the Defense News bureau chief in Israel, worked closely with him as international editor in 1996 and their collaboration continued through the darkest days of Israel-Turkish relations.
“Umit combined soft-spoken gentility with a razor-sharp ability to cut through the crap. It was a privilege to have worked as his editor and then as his colleague working different angles of a complicated story. Count me among the many who mourn his passing and will remember him always.”
Enginsoy graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Middle East Technical University, Ankara. He did postgraduate studies at that department and the Department of English Literature, but did not wish to follow a career in either. In the late 1980s, he joined Turkey’s semi-official Anatolia news agency and worked in Moscow for the wire service for one year.
In 1994, he joined the English-language Turkish Daily News in Ankara and worked as a diplomatic correspondent. Throughout the 1990s he also worked for Agence France-Presse and Turkey’s top news TV channel, NTV. In 1998, Enginsoy’s journalism career in the United States began. For 11 years he was the bureau chief for the Anatolia news agency and later for NTV.
In 2009, Enginsoy returned to Turkey and joined the English-language Hürriyet Daily News as a diplomatic columnist. Enginsoy had contributed articles to Defense News since 1992.
Shortly before his untimely death he had begun writing his memoirs about Washington.
According to a report in the Hürriyet Daily News, attendees at his Jan. 2 funeral ceremony included the deputy parliamentary group leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Akif Hamzaçebi; Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Muş deputy Sirri Sakik; the head of the Press Bulletin Authority (BİK), Mehmet Atalay; the former secretary-general of the National Security Council, Tuncer Kilinç; Turkey’s former ambassador to Washington, Baki İlkin; former diplomat Mehmet Ali Bayar; diplomats from the Greek Embassy and U.S. Embassy.
He is survived by his brother, Haluk Enginsoy, and a sister, Sevil Enginsoy Ekinci.