Farewell to a legendary woman

Farewell to a legendary woman

Aydın Denktaş, the widow of the late Rauf Denktaş, the founding president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, was laid to rest Monday. She passed away Saturday after almost a month of her stay in hospital due to pneumonia. She was 86. 

It must have been a very difficult task to have shared 63 full years of a lifetime together. If that person was a monumental personality who made fame with his stubborn negotiating skills and devotion to his national cause, it must have been even more difficult.

She had six children. At very young ages, the Denktaş couple lost two of their kids, a girl and a boy. It must have been very painful for her as her husband, attending one of the endless rounds of Cyprus talks, could not make it to the funeral of their son. The death of Raif Denktaş in 1985 was a very serious blow to the Denktaş couple. With that pain, Rauf Denktaş wrote a set of books, “Advices to my son” on religion and moral values, while Aydın Denktaş devoted most of her time visiting the infantry ward of hospitals.

Was it because of that immense pain, she often said: “I hope no one is tested with the pain of the loss of a son or daughter?”

For many people she was the beautiful woman with blue eyes who distributed blankets, tea and food to displaced Turkish Cypriots forced to abandon 103 villages across the island following Greek Cypriot attacks from the 1963 “bloody Christmas” and on. It was indeed interesting to read an anecdote shared by Kudret Özersay, the foreign minister of the Turkish Cypriot state. He wrote that he remembered Aydın Denktaş with her support to his family when they were compelled to flee their village because of Greek Cypriot attacks. “My mom recently recalled her great help to our family at a time of distress. According to my mom, at the refugee camp, she approached my mother and asked what we might be in need of. We had nothing urgently needed, except a pot in which my mother could wash things. In a few moments, she was back with a big pot from her kitchen and a mattress for the kids. What happened to the big pot, I have no idea, but the mattress was used to raise the kids of the family up until a few years ago, for about 45 years. She was a great lady with a big heart,” he said.

Indeed, she was. During those 11 years, from December 1963—the start of the Greek Cypriot attacks—until the July 1974 Turkish intervention, she was on the side of the distressed Turkish Cypriot families; if without anything to offer, she would give her loving and caring embrace.

Not only was she a beautiful woman, she was also very elegant, always standing by her husband but always refraining from getting involved in active politics. Even at the worst times of the Turkish Cypriot people, she stood firm and confident.

When in interviews Denktaş would be complaining that he had neglected his family a lot, Aydın Denktaş was clear in conveying what a great father and husband he was. However, everyone knew well that the pillar of strength of the Denktaş family was always Aydın Hanım.

May she rest in peace.

Cyprus issue,