Attila Karaosmanoglu, World Bank executive

December 5, 2013

Attila Karaosmanoglu, a Turkish-born economist who became managing director at the World Bank in Washington, died Nov. 10 at a hospital in Istanbul. He was 81.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, said his son, Ozgur Karaosmanoglu.

Dr. Karaosmanoglu worked at the World Bank from 1966 to 1994, taking a leave in 1971 and 1972 to serve as Turkey’s deputy prime minister in charge of economic policy.

Announcing that Turkey had been “living beyond its means for some time,” Dr. Karaosmanoglu struggled to institute economic reforms while serving in the short-lived military-backed government of Prime Minister Nihat Erim; Dr. Karaosmanoglu and 10 other ministers resigned because the economic plans were rejected. Erim, a leading figure in politics and the law, was assassinated in 1980.

Dr. Karaosmanoglu returned to the World Bank and was named chief economist for the Europe, Middle East and North Africa region. He was vice president for the East Asia and Pacific region from 1983 to 1987, and then vice president of the Asia region until 1991.

After retiring as managing director in 1994, he moved to Istanbul from Bethesda.

Attila Karaosmanoglu, a native of Manisa, Turkey, was a 1954 graduate of Ankara University and received a doctorate in economics from Istanbul University in 1956. He did postdoctoral studies in economics at Harvard University and New York University.

Early in his career, he was a founder and manager of the State Planning Organization in Turkey.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Sukriye Ozyet Karaosmanoglu, and their son, Ozgur Karaosmanoglu, both of Bethesda; a sister; and three grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein