Popes’ pigeon feeder ‘Mud Ali’ passes away

Popes’ pigeon feeder ‘Mud Ali’ passes away

Popes’ pigeon feeder ‘Mud Ali’ passes away

DHA photo

Ali Öz, a man who had been taking care of pigeons that Turkey’s important guests, including Popes, have flown as a symbol of peace, has passed away in Istanbul.

The deceased man, who had been given the nickname “Mud Ali” by his pigeon care-giving friends in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood, raised and took care of the pigeons Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis flew during their visits to Turkey.

Öz was the sole owner of the pigeons, some of which were flown by Rakel Dink during the funeral ceremony of Hrant Dink, the Armenian editor-in-chief of weekly Agos who was murdered on Jan. 19, 2007.

Photos showing white pigeons flying during Dink’s funeral in 2007 appeared in several international media outlets at the time.

Öz, who had a true passion for pigeons, had previously said in an interview his enthusiasm for pigeons was inherited from his father, who had started raising pigeons in the Central Anatolian province of Sivas when he was 15 years old.

“So, I started raising pigeons in Istanbul when I was 15,” said Öz during the same interview, adding he had many types of pigeons in his coop, from “Mardins” to those being used to deliver letters. 

“We had like 30 pigeons, most of them pigeons for posting. Those ones are able to come back no matter where you leave them,” he said.