Peace Activist Killed in Hit-and-Run

by Dereen Shirnekhi, April 29, 2024, New Haven Independent

[The PAR Planning Committee was shocked to learn of Yusuf Gürsey’s tragic death. We extend our condolences to all who knew him. Yusuf was a well-known peace and justice activist for decades and will be greatly missed.]

Seventy-year-old scholar and city Peace Commission member Yusuf Gürsey died Sunday night [April 28] after a car fatally struck him — and then fled the scene — while he was walking near his home on Whalley Avenue.

New Haven Police Department Public Information Officer Christian Bruckhart announced Gürsey’s death in a Monday press release.

… At 9:26 p.m. Sunday night, officers responded to the area of Whalley Avenue and Brownell Street for a car accident involving a pedestrian. They found Gürsey in the street, injured.
… The car, which had fled after the accident, was found later and is being processed for evidence. Police ask that anyone who may have witnessed this incident or who may have information valuable to investigators to call detectives at 203-946-6304 or through the department’s anonymous tip-line at 866-888-TIPS (8477).

Gürsey was originally from Istanbul, Turkey. He had lived in New Haven for almost 40 years and had studied both engineering and linguistics. He was an academic who spent his life at times as a researcher, a professor, and a freelance medical and court translator. He spoke both Turkish and Arabic. Gürsey served on the Greater New Haven Peace Council as well as the city’s Peace Commission.

Fellow city peace commissioner Aaron Goode … described Gürsey as someone who wanted peace in the Middle East: he advocated for nuclear nonproliferation, ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now, ending the war in Gaza.

“It’s very shocking,” said Goode, who said he knew that Gürsey had attended [a] downtown protest in support of Palestine.

Yusuf Gursey. Photo: Yale University

Gürsey was passionate about ending the conflict involving Israel and Gaza, and according to fellow peace commissioner Millie Grenough, he attended every one of the commission’s community conversations around the conflict, the most recent one being just two weeks ago at the Mitchell Library in Westville.

“He was a very learned person,” Goode said of Gürsey, especially when it came to Middle East history. He had an​“encyclopedic knowledge” of history, geography, and theology. Gürsey brought his scholarly nature — he often posted on social media for the birthdays of Turkish writers and thinkers — to everything he did, including the Peace Commission.

“He wasn’t loud and assertive and ebullient,” Goode remembered, ​“he was just a very quiet, scholarly, intellectual, thoughtful presence in whatever setting he was in.” …

[Entire article available here:]

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