Citizens bid an emotional farewell to former first lady
ISPARTA - Anatolia News Agency
Süleyman Demirel (L) was offered a chair but refused to sit down during funeral prayers, despite fragile health. Bülent Arınç (C) and Cemil Çiçek (R) were some of the public figures that attended the ceremony in Isparta. DHA photoFormer First Lady Nazmiye Demirel’s funeral took place in her hometown Isparta on May 30, with high-level government officials, public figures and large crowds of citizens attending the ceremony.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, main opposition and Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek, Justice and Development Party (AKP) spokesman Mahir Günal, Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül, and prominent businessman Rahmi Koç were all in attendance as the funeral prayers were held at the gravesite in İslamköy.
Çiçek, speaking ahead of the ceremony, highlighted the difficulties of being a politician’s spouse, praising Demirel’s endurance through her husband’s political life. CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu also praised the strength and unity of their marriage, saying, “Whatever Süleyman Demirel suffered, she suffered the same; and she shared all the pain.”
Large crowds of citizens accompanied the political and public figures, as well as formerly politically-active names, including former ministers Mehmet Ağar, Cavit Çağlar, Hüsamettin Cindoruk and Yaşar Topçu. Demirel was offered a chair to sit at throughout the prayers due to his fragile health, but refused to do so, demanding that the chair be removed, according to daily Hürriyet. The former president was visibly heartbroken as he said goodbye to his wife of 65 years, and had to be seated during the burial.
President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev, imprisoned CHP deputy Mehmet Haberal and Mustafa Balbay, and Bedrettin Dalan, a fugitive suspect of the Ergenekon case, all sent wreaths to the funeral site. One angry citizen broke the prime minister’s wreath in an act of protest, according to Hurriyet. Nazmiye Demirel passed away on May 27 at the age of 86, having suffered from Alzheimers since 2005.