Remembering Halit Kıvanç

26 October 2022
Remembering Halit Kıvanç

The veteran of football broadcasting and journalist Halit Kıvanç passed away.

Remembering Halit Kıvanç

I am not from the generation that grew up watching Halit Kıvanç and coincided with the 23 April ceremonies that Kıvanç narrated with his beautiful Turkish. However, I got to know Halit Kıvanç when I was very young, with a black and white TRT program I watched from TRT archives: Kıvanç hands over the microphone to Zeki Müren for a rhyme reading, and a wonderful few minute of watching begins. As an Esin Engin fan, there is also the record “Halit Kıvanç Presents: Tangos” for me, where listening to Halit Kıvanç’s presentation is as enjoyable as listening to Esin Engin… Halit Kıvanç, who passed away yesterday, has a different place in all our memories…

Speaker, presenter and journalist Halit Kıvanç, born in Fatih on February 18, 1925, is “one of the most beautiful voices in Turkish”, as it is written in the headlines of today’s newspapers, with whom a generation grew up with TRT screens. He is the founder of Turkey’s first daily sports newspaper, Türkiye Spor (1953), together with Alp Zirek and Halit Tayarer. He presented culture, art and entertainment programs on TRT for many years, and a generation watched the 23 April ceremonies with Kıvanç’s presentation for nearly 20 years. He was the first Turkish announcer to present the World Cup, and also the first Muslim journalist to interview the Pope. After working as Abdi İpekçi’s assistant at Milliyet Newspaper, he received an offer from the BBC and went to London for a while.

Remembering Halit Kıvanç
Halit Kıvanç, Müşfik Kenter and Yıldız Kenter preparing for BBC interviews.

After working at the BBC for nearly a year and returning to Turkey, Kıvanç started working as a sportscaster in addition to journalism. He has been the voice of football matches for years. He became the first journalist to interview the legendary Brazilian football player Pele and the first Turkish announcer to present the World Cup. He watched and broadcast 10 World Cups and told about 4 Olympics.

Istanbul Radio is not really my first job in my life, it is my first love. The first good thing I did in my life is to speak on Istanbul Radio. “Brother you speak properly, why don’t you speak on the radio?” They said, and I entered.

This is how Halit Kıvanç expressed his feelings about Istanbul Radio in a statement.

Kıvanç, one of the first translators of the Asteriks series in Turkey, covers Turkish television broadcasting in his book Tele Safir published by NTV Publications, Football! A Love, which is a book he wrote about his adventure as a football announcer and writer.

Despite being offered a contract for 5 years from the BBC, Halit Kıvanç said, “I want to go to my hometown to apply what I have learned,” and he made numerous contributions to Turkish radio and television broadcasting with his beautiful Turkish and left a mark on all of us. As I said at the beginning of the article, Halit Kıvanç is mostly remembered for his opening speeches for the Esin Engin album. That’s why, while I was closing the article, Halit Kıvanç said, “If we ask our mothers and even our grandmothers about the first dance she did with moist eyes in her white wedding dress, they will all say, ‘Here, it was tango!'” I bid you farewell with this tango, in which he made his opening speech.