I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Aysın Yılmaz’s passing. I had the honour of working with her during my time as a committee member of the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations in Britain (CTCA UK) when she was president (2013-2015).
She took on the presidency at a time when the CTCA had many problems. She carried out this difficult responsibility with the necessary skills and gravitas required of a leader. Making great strides, she turned the CTCA into an organisation that is trusted, respected and inclusive to all members of our community.
I was the youngest committee member at that time, but always felt that I could express my opinions at meetings and have fond memories conversing with her.
My fondest memory was from when I had an article published in a newspaper. I did not mention it to anyone, but Mrs Yılmaz had found it among her many subscriptions of newspapers. She had kept the newspaper with my article, discussing it with me and offering words of encouragement.
From my interactions with Mrs Yılmaz I was impressed by many of her qualities: she was always well-spoken and dignified, and yet most striking of all was her positivity. It was her default position, so much so that it was contagious!
She would enthuse members of our community with the confidence that great things can be achieved if we work together, always acting with grace and elegance befitting the stature of her position as president.
Today, the British Turkish Cypriot community is benefiting from the progress of the CTCA. This umbrella body for diverse events and activities, organised by able leaders and energetic member associations, is a development which commenced under Mrs Yılmaz’s leadership and serves as a lasting monument to her legacy.
May Allah in his mercy grant her rest in an abode of light.
This article is by Mustafa Kureyşi, the chair of the Cezire Association, which is a member of the CTCA UK.
Main image, top, of the CTCA Committee (L-R: Mustafa Kureyşi, Cetin Ramadan, Aysın Yılmaz, Leyla Kemal, Tevfik Zekai, and Ertuğrul Mehmet) in 2013 when announcing that a book documenting the history of the organisation would be prepared for its 30th anniversary that same year. Photo © Mustafa Köker