118-year-old from Turkey’s southeast claims to be world’s oldest person
BİTLİS - Anadolu AgencyA woman from the southeastern province of Bitlis, who claims to be the oldest person in the world, marked her 118th birthday in April.
Asiye Sütlü, whose Turkish identity card states that she was born on April 17, 1899, says the secret to her long life is the organic food she grew up eating.
During a birthday celebration organized by the Family Ministry on May 23 in the Hizan district of Bitlis, Sütlü also said she only eats local produce.
“We always used to eat local food: Homemade yogurt, keskek [a dish of mutton or chicken and ground wheat], ayran [a drink made of yoghurt and water] and medicinal herbs that we pick from the mountains,” she said.
“But these days the food is so unhealthy that I cannot eat even it,” she added.
On May 23, Sütlü cut a chocolate birthday cake at a celebration delayed by a journey in April to Turkey’s west.
Largely confined to bed as she is very frail, she spoke at the celebration about how during her childhood she would walk to high plains in order to milk cows and carry firewood back to her village.
Sütlü lost her husband 45 years ago when she was 73.
She has 41 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren and is today cared for by her daughter-in-law Zinnet.
“I take care of her needs. She is happy with me,” Zinnet said
Her grandson Mekin said his grandmother remained healthy despite suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure.
“The municipality helps take care of her needs,” he added.
Sütlü’s claim has not been verified by any international bodies, but the birth date on her Turkish ID card would make her the world’s oldest person alive. She would also be older than Emma Morano, who was officially recognized as the world oldest person before her death in Italy in April at the age of 117.
Morano was born six months before Sütlü and had been considered to be the world’s last living person born in the 19th century.
Jamaican woman Violet Brown, who was born on March 10, 1900, is currently recognized as the world’s oldest person by the Gerontology Research Group, which records the longevity of people with credible birth documentation.