Turkey's Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister has died in a car accident in the eastern province of Van, state broadcaster TRT Haber said on Monday.
Ahmet Haluk Dursun was in the eastern province of Muş for the anniversary of a battle between the Seljuks and the Byzantine Empire which took place in 1071, TRT said. He later went to a historic site in the Bitlis province.
The deputy minister later left Bitlis and his car fell off the side of the road in a district of the neighbouring Van province, it said. Three others were injured in the accident.
Dursun was born in 1957, according to his personal website. He was appointed Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister in July 2018.
In his last remarks before his death, Dursun spoke at an event in Malazgirt district of Muş where the 948h anniversary of the famous Battle of Manzikert is being remembered. Dursun was a frequent traveler to eastern cities and was lauded for his support of cultural events in the region.
Born in the northwestern town of Hereke, Dursun launched his academic career at Istanbul's Marmara University where he completed his postgraduate studies on the History of the Modern Age. Along with his academic career, he served as a cultural adviser on various projects and was among the founders of Miniatürk, Istanbul's famed miniature park.
Dursun served as acting culture and tourism authority director in Istanbul in 2007 and was the director of the Hagia Sophia between 2006 and 2012. He was appointed as Topkapı's director in 2012 and worked there until 2014. He was credited with contributing to the increase in popularity of the two museums with events he organized there for history buffs.
He also served as a member of the now-defunct Prime Ministry's Ethics Board for Public Officials. In addition to the deputy minister post, he was a member of the executive board of the High Authority of Atatürk Culture, Language and History, a prominent state-run culture agency.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a message of condolence on his Twitter account upon Dursun's death. "I learned with great sorrow the passing of Mr. Ahmet Haluk Dursun, our deputy culture and tourism minister. May Allah bless Dursun who offered unique services and contributions to our country in many fields," Turkish leader said in a statement.