Alex a.k.a. Aleko, Cavaliere Alessandro Baltazzi is my very good friend with whom I have shared the best years of my adolescence in Izmir (College Saint Joseph) along with the late Karel Dutilh, Bruno Penzo, and Arslan Kontente and later on in Istanbul, he at Saint Benoit and I at the neighboring Sankt Georg at Kuledibi, Galata... The news of his passing on, even though not unexpected, has devastated me...
Even though a great many of us would have bragged about a background as illustrous as his, Alex was raised as a very normal member of the Izmir middle class Levantine community and has always been a delight to befriend... His down-to-earth assessment of philosophical, ethical, artistic, literary, and socio-political opinions and happenings always provided me with the diversity of perspective I have always found very useful...and made me always respect and appreciate his qualities while helping with my own personal development.
I fondly remember going with him and very often with Arslan to the movies in Izmir every Saturday after completion of our homework, in the very early fifties...and discussing all subjects adolescents enjoy treating.
It was always a pleasure getting to greet his lovely mother Mme Rosa whenever I collected him from his home on such occasions...
I salute a great man who was a good friend but also a great father who succeeded in bringing up two wonderful sons who love and respect him while continuing to develop the tourism business he founded well before most others did it in the context of very significant handicaps... In this context I also wish to honor his first wife and mother of his sons, Sonay, and his later wife and great woman Saadet.
Alex has understood and practiced a spirituality respectful and tolerant diversity which particularly qualified him as a Levantine par excellence.
I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to maintain my friendship and love for such a good man the Levantine Community is, I know, very proud to have produced such an enlightened Turcophile with a great sense of tolerance towards all religious and philosophical points of view...
I have and do love Alex and wish all to know, most especially his sons Giancarlo and Gianluigi, that I am proud to be associated with him in very deep friendship.
Our dinner so lovingly prepared by your dear wife Saadet at your summer home in Pasaliman on July 12 was assuredly not our last goodbye. So long my dear Alex...
May the loving Lord of all be gracious to you!
I have known Alex for as far back as my memory will take me. During the early days of those more than 60 years; he had been a role model for us younger ones to look up to. Then as a friend we had many happy moments to share. Lately he has been a colleague, a co-researcher in Levantine history, and a most valuable co-author in our joint publication of A Smyrneika Lexicon.
There are so many unforgettable events remember, but one I am particularly proud of is when at the very start of his career as Sabena agent, he would consult me when writing his initial reports as his English had not been perfected at that time, having been a committed French speaker.
Alex was always open to new challenges, when I first contacted him early in 2008 with the aim of organising an all encompassing meeting with the Levantines of Izmir he embraced the project with great ardour and worked hard to make it our successful Levantine Symposium. He was just as keen to help us organise and provide logistic support for our Second Levantine Symposium of Izmir in October 2014.
Many of Alex’s contributions to the Levantine heritage of Turkey and Izmir in particular, are to be found on the Levantine Heritage website.
Alex Baltazzi died on 18th September 2015. He is survived by his wife and 2 sons.