A Turk's sacrifice for America
Turkish police officers react after an explosion at the entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara Friday, February 1, in this picture provided by Milliyet Daily Newspaper.
March 1st, 2013
12:49 PM ET

A Turk's sacrifice for America

By Jill Dougherty, traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry

In Ankara, Turkey, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry came face to face with a tragedy that scarred his first day in office: the death of a security guard at the U.S. Embassy in the capital city.

Mustafa Akarsu died in a suicide bombing at the gates to the embassy he had guarded for 20 years. On Friday, his wife, two children and their uncle sat in the sunshine on the lawn of the embassy as Kerry expressed condolences on behalf of President Barack Obama and the American people.

"That was my first day as secretary of state," he said. "When I raised my hand to take the oath of office, this tragedy was immediately on my mind and in my heart, and I have carried the memory of that courage in every embassy I have walked into since, and I will in the days ahead."

Kerry presented to the family the American flag that flew over the embassy the day Akarsu died.

When the terrorist came to the gate, he said, "Mustafa didn't hesitate for a moment. He and his fellow guards acted heroically, saving lives, with quickness and with bravery."

Recalling other guards who have been killed at other embassies, Kerry said it is a "dangerous world," but embassy staff members do "indispensable work."Sec. Kerry in Turkey

Akarsu was a dreamer, he said, who wanted his children to study in the United States. Kerry said foreign service personnel are trying to make that happen.

An online fundraising effort has brought in close to $100,000 from more than a thousand donors to help send the children to school in the U.S.

The money comes in addition to official compensation from the State Department and a small pension from the Turkish government, which declared Mustafa a "martyr."

Filed under: Diplomacy • Hot Spot Dispatch • John Kerry • Turkey
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. ramirex

    I am Palestinian I have saw my country's loss of millions we were only armed with scrap we don't have luxuries like guards Kerry [the jerk] you aren't a parotic American you are just a redneck a stupid ignorant redneck

    March 12, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  2. Mira

    Thanks to all of you, who express their condolences to the Akarsu family on their loss.
    Thanks to those of you, who have the decency, to acknowledge and appreciate the bravery of Mr. Akarsu. This man, who guarded the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey for 20 years sacrificed nothing less than his life in order to save American lives.
    Of course, he got paid for his job! Kerry, shame on you!
    This is not the right spot nor the proper manner, to comment in such an condescending way.
    As an American-Turkish family, we are deeply saddened and our hearts go out for his family. They lost a son, a brother, a husband, a father and all you do here is, show your ignorance?
    As a native Turkish lady, i am happy and proud, that i know enough intelligent and educated Americans to know better. In my humble opinion, you do not represent your country!
    My man is serving currently his country, the United States of America, in Afghanistan as an native American!!! I am disgusted by you and your kind. You belittle a man, who gave all he had for America and left his family alone?!

    March 10, 2013 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  3. Pete

    My condolences to the Akarsu family on their loss..Hope some day his children will get the chance to study in America,God Bless!

    March 5, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Reply
  4. SecretSquirrel

    Mustafa Akarsu is a better American than bradley manning.

    March 2, 2013 at 10:45 am | Reply
  5. Michelle

    Here is a link to the online fund to support his family: http://igg.me/p/332529

    March 1, 2013 at 2:45 pm | Reply
    • Mira

      Thank You, Michelle 🙂

      March 10, 2013 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  6. John Smith

    Thank You Turks Thank you for killing all bad apples for us. Our world has no use of terrorists, blow them all to hell.

    March 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • Kerry

      Come on John, cut the Tea Party bla-bla-bla. This Turkish bozo did what he was paid to do and paid quite well by our taxpayers, too! In fact, Turkey itself is just another satellite state of ours willing to carry out every order we give it!

      March 1, 2013 at 5:55 pm | Reply
      • George Patton

        Kerry, if turkish bozo was paid to do what he did. who is paying you to make mean spirited posts? Or you re one of them too!

        March 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • wjmccartan

        Well put, Kerry. Thank you.

        March 1, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
      • wjmccartan

        Well put, George. Thank you

        March 1, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
      • Joe

        dude come on give the guy some respect and his family respect. The guy is dead. Because right now you are coming of as a cynical jerk that doesn't have respect for a guy that decided to be a security guard instead of a drug runner for the cartels across turkey to support his family.

        March 3, 2013 at 2:18 am |
      • Mira

        How about you educate yourself on the history of Turkey, the country and it's people before you spill your ignorance on us!
        Certainly, you would change your opinion, if you would be willing to open your eyes.
        I doubt that you do know any Turks.
        You have nothing to lose, but gain.

        March 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm |

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.