Cemetery visits go online in days of pandemic in Turkey’s Antalya
A man, who runs a company that takes care of and looks after tombs, is offering a virtual tour of cemeteries in the southern province of Antalya as people cannot go out because of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Mehmet Çetin launched his business some 12 years ago. Çetin would frequently pay visits to his grandfather’s grave, but he thought the cemeteries were not providing proper maintenance services and decided to establish a company to take care of the graves.
His company keeps the graves clean and decorates them with flowers, particularly for special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, Mothers’ Day and religious feasts when people visit the cemeteries to pray.
However, nowadays he is offering another service: A virtual tour of the cemeteries for the deceased’s relatives and loved ones.
Çetin’s company has seen a pickup in demand after the COVID-19 disease broke out as people stay at home to avoid the virus.
Ahead of the Eid el-Fitr feast, he arranges video talks with the relatives on the spot to let them see how the tomb is kept clean and neat.
Hasret Ergen is one of them. Ergen could not pay a visit to his cousin’s grave because of restrictions. He asked Çetin to look after the tomb and had a video talk with him.
“I was sad because I could not go the cemetery but was happy to see his tomb was all clean,” Ergen said.
Çetin noted that he receives many requests in the run up to the Eid el-Fitr because of curfews, travel restrictions or people simply stay at home because of hygiene concerns.
“Some people even pray for the souls of their loved ones during the video talks. Such emotional moments,” he said.