60-year-old Turkish traveling woman found in İzmir after viral social media campaign
İZMİRA 60-year-old Turkish woman, whose travel photos went viral on the internet after she lost her camera in a car in which she was hitchhiking, has been found in the Aegean province of İzmir.
Thousands of social media users sparked a viral campaign to find her and nicknamed her “Ayşe Teyze” (Aunt Ayşe).
Ayşe Kurucu hitchhiked in Tülin Tezel Öztemel and Emre Öztemel’s car, who were on a trip from the Black Sea province of Rize to Georgia, after she injured her ankle during her trip. The woman, however, forgot her camera in their car, prompting the couple to share Kurucu’s photos on their social media accounts in an effort to locate her.
Kurucu was later found in the Aegean province of İzmir and met the Öztemel couple.
“I was upset when I realized my camera was lost. Another camera could be bought but I could not compensate for my photographs. Those photographs were very important to me. I also had not backed up my photographs. These photographs are from the places I visited in the past 10 years. You [the couple] gave the world to me,” she said.
Kurucu said she started traveling 10 years ago, after she divorced her husband, and had visited at least 25 countries, including France, Italy and India.
However, social media users accused the Öztemel couple of trying to make publicity.
“A lovely aunt got into our car while we were traveling. She forgot her camera in our car. After that, we saw the photos. But this situation changed my point of view. People have already lost their good intentions. Everything became a series of lies. Why do people think an old woman traveling the world is strange? Why do you think this is fake? Can a middle-aged woman who is a housewife not love traveling?” she added.