LONDON – Lefteris Pitarakis, an Associated Press photojournalist based in London, has been named AP's chief photographer for Turkey, based in Istanbul.
The appointment was announced Tuesday by Tony Hicks, AP's regional photo editor for Europe and Africa.
"Turkey is a country with a dynamic breaking news agenda, top level sports and rich historical traditions. In Lefteris Pitarakis, AP has an experienced, creative and hard-working photographer with all the attributes needed to make his assignment there a massive success," Hicks said.
Pitarakis, 40, started work with the AP as a freelance photographer in 1998 and covered the Balkans region with assignments in Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo, as well as Cyprus. From 2000 to 2005 he was based in the Middle East, mainly covering the Palestinian uprising against Israel. Later, he became deputy photo editor for Israel and the Palestinian territories, and traveled throughout the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and South Asia. He also covered the aftermath of the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Since 2005, Pitarakis has been based in London while continuing to travel frequently. He covered three wars in the Gaza Strip, and his work from the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon was included in a team entry that became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
In his latest assignment, he covered the fighting between Islamic State militants and Kurdish fighters for the Syrian city of Kobani.
Pitarakis also shoots video for AP and trains AP photographers on shooting video, as well as lecturing frequently about ethics in photojournalism, a topic he has championed in universities and photography institutions.
He graduated from Middlesex University with a degree in photography and holds a master's degree in photojournalism from the University of Westminster.