Veteran journalist Kıvanç dies at 97
The death of Kıvanç, one of the country’s most well-known sports commentators, was announced by his son Ümit Kıvanç in a Twitter post. “The funeral will be held in Zincirlikuyu Cemetery on Oct. 27,” he said.
Having worked as a writer and manager for various dailies and magazines, as Milliyet, Hürriyet, İstanbul Ekspres, Tercüman and Güneş, Kıvanç started to give voice to unforgettable matches after he started working as a radio announcer.
Kıvanç, who moved to TV in the following years, also hosted various programs and competitions.
Born in 1925, he graduated from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Law and served as a judge in the eastern province of Batman’s Kozluk district for three months.
In 1953, he published Türkiye’s first sports daily, Türkiye Spor, together with Alp Zirek and Halit Talayer.
Having made significant contributions to the development of radio and TV broadcasting in Türkiye, Kıvanç accomplished many firsts in Turkish broadcasting’s history.
In 1952, he was sent to Italy by Türkiye Ekspres to interview four Turkish footballers (Bülent Eken, Bülent Esen, Şükrü Gülesin, Lefter Küçükandonyadis), who played in Italian clubs.
He took this opportunity and visited the Pope in the Vatican, becoming the first ever Turkish journalist to be admitted.
At a contest during the World Humorists Conference held in the U.S., he came in third.
Due to late application, he did not receive a speaker’s booth at Wembley Stadium for broadcasting of the football game between England and Germany at the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final. He commented on the match, which lasted two-and-half-hours with overtime, on radio in Türkiye by telephone. The next day, he was told that he became the first ever reporter to give a comment of a World Cup football event on the phone.
He has served as a presenter at the Olympics and major international events, while he was the first Turkish announcer to present the FIFA World Cup on TV.
Kıvanç, who has presented culture-arts, music and entertainment programs on national broadcaster TRT for many years, gained a large fan base with his presentation on April 23’s, National Sovereignty and Children’s Day.
He hosted many concerts and special events at Harbiye Open Air Theater and Istanbul Sports and Exhibition Center.
In 2005, Halit Kıvanç celebrated his 50th anniversary in his career as a sports commentator at a special event organized by the government.
After his death was announced, condolences poured in from politicians and sports clubs.
“I learned with sadness that Halit Kıvanç, one of the veterans of our media, passed away. May Allah have mercy on Mr. Kıvanç, my condolences to his family, fans and media community,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wrote on his Twitter account.
“I wish Allah’s mercy on Halit Kıvanç, a veteran journalist and announcer who enthralled in the hearts of all of us with his flawless Turkish and voice, and my condolences to his grieving family and fans,” Parliament Speaker Mustafa Şentop also said.
Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın also shared a post on social media. “I wish God’s mercy on Halit Kıvanç, one of the unforgettable names of our radio and television history, and my condolences to his family, our media community and all his fans. His smiling face, excited and refreshing voice, programs and gentlemanship will always be remembered fondly.”
Besides Türkiye’s big-four - Fenerbahçe, Galatasaray, Beşiktaş, Trabzonspor - many sports clubs also issued condolence messages after Kıvanç.
“It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of Halit Kıvanç, a veteran of Turkish sports broadcasting, veteran announcer and journalist. We wish Allah’s mercy on the late Halit Kıvanç, and our condolences to his family, fans and the Turkish press,” Turkish Football Federation also said.