First Ever Recorded HIV Case in Turkey (1985): The Story of Murti
Author: merve özcangaz
Monday 24th of March 2014 01:01:21 PM

Hi Everyone! Today I will talk about the first recorded HIV case in Turkey. I must warn you it is not a happy story. Actually it’s a bit tragic but don’t worry! I have also good stories to tell…

Turkey had its first official HIV case  in November 1985. Mürteza Elgin who was nicknamed Murti was a well known personality in the art world. The news of his infection was a big scandal in the media. All the details of his personal life were all over the media, probably a few things were invented also. He was tested 3 times, in İstanbul, Ankara and Germany. There was no doubt that he was HIV positive. People back then still did not know exactly what it was, how it was transmitted, if it was a “gay disease”, etc… Because of this , most of his friends stopped seeing him, authorities did not know what to do… The Ministry of Health wanted to keep him under medical observation but he had to hide because of the overwhelming media attention. After a while, He decided to go to Germany for treatment, awaiting the move he was put in an isolated hospital room in İstanbul. As time past and knowledge evolved,  people got to accept his Murti’s situation and his friends started visiting him. He died in 1992 from complications due to HIV and this became another hurdle for the authorities, when it came to burying him.  First, his body was wrapped in nylon then placed into a zinc coffin and buried in a lime pit… Talk about over the top.


I can hear you are say “Poor Murti!” Ignorance is not always bliss, huh? Turkish point of view towards HIV positive people changed a lot in last 20 years. More about it tomorrow, stay tuned...

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