Prominent Turkish journalist, anchorman, dies aged 71

Mehmet Ali Birand, a prominent Turkish journalist who advocated minority rights and democracy in Turkey during a career spanning 48 years, has died. He was 71.

His son Umur says Birand, who had cancer, died in Istanbul Thursday from an infection.

Birand began his career with Milliyet newspaper in 1964 but became better known for a series of interviews and documentaries produced in the 1980s. His books on Turkey's EU membership bid, its military and its invasion of Cyprus were translated into several languages.

Birand was among a number of liberal journalists who were fired by their bosses in 1997 under pressure from the military, which also toppled a pro-Islamic government.

Birand, who was anchoring Kanal D station's prime-time nightly news, is survived by his wife and son.