Münir Ertegün : biography
Mehmet Münir Ertegün (1883 – 11 November 1944) was a Turkish legal counsel in international law to the "Sublime Porte" of the late Ottoman Empire and a diplomat of the Turkish Republic during its early years. Ertegün married Emine Hayrünnisa Rüstem in 1917 and the couple had three children, two of whom were Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegün, the brothers who founded Atlantic Records and who became iconic figures in the American music industry.
Life and career
Born in Istanbul to a civil servant father, Mehmet Cemil Bey, and a mother Ayşe Hamide Hanım, who was a daughter of Sufi shaykh İbrahim Edhem Efendi, he studied law at Istanbul University and graduated in 1908. He was a close figure and aide to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk during the Turkish Independence War and the chief legal counsel of the Turkish delegation to the Treaty of Lausanne.
After the Western powers recognized the newly-founded Republic of Turkey in 1923, he was sent to Geneva to the League of Nations as an observer for the Turkish Republic. During this assignment he frequently went to Paris for the Ottoman Public Debt negotiations. Following this posting to the League of Nations he was appointed ambassador to Switzerland (1925–1930), France (1930–1932), the United Kingdom (1932–1934) and the United States (1934–1944). Munir Ertegun, Turkish Republic’s first ambassador to Washington, opened his embassy’s parlors to African American jazz musicians, who gathered there to play freely in a socio-historical context which was deeply divided by racial segregation at the time. - See more at: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/events/prizes-and-celebrations/celebrations/international-days/international-jazz-day-2013/#sthash.Lt9TAZYT.dpuf He held this last post until he died in Washington, D.C. in 1944. In April 1946, a year after World War II had ended, his body was carried back to Istanbul by the USS MissouriThomas A. Bryson, 'Tars, Turks, and Tankers: The Role of the United States Navy in the Middle East,' Scarecrow Press, Inc., Metuchen, NJ, and London, 1980, 90. and buried in the garden of Sufi tekke, Özbekler Tekkesi in Sultantepe, Üsküdar near his shaykh grandfather İbrahim Edhem Efendi, who was once the head of the Tekke.
When Ertegün died, there was not yet a mosque in Washington D.C. at which his funeral could be held. The Islamic Center of Washington was built as a result.
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