Ottoman Bank executive Berc Turker Kerestecyan

Ottoman Bank executive Berc Turker Kerestecyan/Kerestec/Kerestejian (1870-1949) was the co-founder of the Turkish Red Cross and a deputy at the Chamber of Deputies.

He informed Ataturk’s lawyer about a British plot to sink Ataturk’s ship when Ataturk was about to launch his “war of independence”.

Ataturk awarded him the Medal of Independence. In 1934, when the law of last names was passed, Ataturk gave Berc the family name Turker (Turkish for Turk man) for his patriotism.

Kerestecyan, who was orphaned at an early age, was raised by his uncle Bedros Kerestecyan who had authored the etymological dictionary of the Turkish language.

By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto

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