On Sunday morning, the British Turkish community woke to the tragic news that broadcaster Hülya Nur Özdemir Alişoğlu had passed away. She was aged just 41.
The popular presenter of ATV’s long-running television lifestyle show, Londra Aktüel, which she created with her producer-director husband Sevgin Alişoğlu, had been battling breast cancer for a number of years.
The couple had met while working together at the London studios of pioneering Turkish television station DEM TV. They had been married 13 years and share two daughters aged 8 and 12 years old.
The news of Hülya was announced on the social media pages of Londra Aktüel just after midday on Sunday, 9 April.
“Hülya Nur Özdemir Alişoğlu, who was the presenter of our Londra Aktüel programme, has passed away after succumbing to cancer, which she had been fighting for many years. We are extremely upset. To our friends, we are immensely grateful for sharing our pain. Condolences to all who loved her.”
Many of the Alişoğlus’ media peers, as well as countless people from the community took to social media to express their sadness and shock at the presenter’s sudden death.
Tributes to the TV presenter
Mustafa Köker, the founder and editor of Turkish news portal Eurovizyon posted this message on Facebook:
“I was shaken by the news of my dear sister Hülya Özdemir Alişoğlu’s death. I couldn’t believe it. She was a very young mother. She had two beautiful children… It is the will of the Divine [that] she left early. I hope her final resting place is in heaven. May God give strength to her husband, Sevgin Alişoğlu and their beautiful babies.”
Businessman Firat Mayil, who was one of the co-owners of DEM TV and close friend of the couple, posted a photo of Hülya and wrote the following heartfelt words:
“There are so many words to say Hülya… you used to say you will beat this CURSED disease. It didn’t happen, my sister. It’s so hard to believe the news of your death. What will my brother Sevgin and your daughters do without you. Dear God, please give patience to your loved ones.”
Author, sociologist and filmmaker Semra Eren-Nijhar, who was formerly a programme presenter at DEM TV and continued to collaborate with the couple on new media projects, wrote on Facebook:
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a dear friend and TV producer Hulya Alisoglu. Her battle with cancer over the years showed us her determination and how she lived her life so positively. We shall never forget this…May she rest in peace.”
Opera singer and broadcaster Burak Gulsen wrote, “We are enormously saddened by the sudden death of our dear friend Hülya Özdemir Alisoğlu, the young mother of the lovely Alişoğlu family and the adored presenter of the [television] screens. I wish patience and my deepest condolences to the entire family. Bless your soul [Hülya]”.
About Hülya Alişoğlu
Hülya Nur Özdemir Alişoğlu was born in Paşalı, a district of Çatalzeytin, Kastamonu, in northern Turkiye to Nurettin Özdemir and English school teacher Fatma Yıldırım Korkmaz.
She graduated from Ankara University Faculty of Language, History and Geography, and entered a career in broadcasting.
Like many other bright young Turks taking advantage of the opportunities created by the Ankara Agreement in the new millennium, Hülya headed to London to pursue her career in the creative industries, meeting her husband Sevgin, who had similarly travelled to the UK from Turkiye.
The pair worked on a number of shows for DEM TV, and the pair’s professional relationship soon blossomed into romance.
When DEM TV closed down in 2009, Hülya and Sevgin continued to work together, creating a successful weekly show covering news, culture and lifestyle events from the British capital for ATV Avrupa – the European channel of ATV, one of Turkiye’s biggest television stations.
Diagnosed with breast cancer prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Hülya had undergone a variety of treatments both in Britain and in her native Turkiye and had overcome the deadly disease.
She and her husband had recently travelled to a remote part of Brazil to film a documentary on Ayahuasca, a psychoactive plant-based drink which has been heralded by some for its healing properties, helping people to overcome trauma.
Erkin Guney, chairman of the trust that administers Shacklewell Lane Mosque, who knew the couple well, told T-VINE: “I’m really lost for words. They are beautiful family. I am very upset. I am devastated for Sevgin, their children and the family. I know that she will be flying with the angels.”
T-VINE Magazine extends its heartfelt condolences to Sevgin Alişoğlu, his daughters and all of Hülya’s family and friends. She will be dearly missed.