Russian mother to search for missing son in Turkey

Russian mother to search for missing son in Turkey

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Russian mother to search for missing son in Turkey

Gülsüm Kabadayı, was a guest on a popular Russian talk show after taking care of a Russian boy who had been lost four years. AA photo / SULEYMAN ELCIN

A Russian mother whose son disappeared in 2004 is preparing to come to Turkey after claiming that a young Russian man hit by a car in Turkey’s southern province of Antalya in 2008 and taken under the care of an elderly Turkish woman, is her son, Russian Life News reported Jan. 30.

Pavel Kuklin left Kargasoksky in central Russia and did not return home on July 30, 2004, Natalia Ustymenko, a spokesperson for the State Ministry of the Interior in the Tomsk region of Russia, said, according to Life News.

Kuklin’s mother, Tatiana Kukina, searched for her son for years after his disappearance but failed to find him until she was alerted of a young man named Umut residing in Turkey who matched Kuklin’s description.

Umut is the given name of a young Russian man who was left paralyzed after a 2008 automobile accident in Antalya. A Turkish woman, Gülsüm Kabadayı, came across the young man, who doctors estimated to be around 17 years old, at the hospital where he was undergoing treatment. When nobody claimed him, she adopted the young man.

Naming him Umut, “hope” in Turkish, Kabadayı stayed with him in the hospital for over 300 days, 110 of which Umut spent in intensive care. Umut soon received a Turkish ID card identifying him as Mustafa Öz, and was placed under state care upon his release.

Kabadayı became an overnight hero after appearing on a Russian TV show Jan. 23, calling on authorities to find the relatives of the young man who has been under her care for nearly five years. Turkish authorities had failed to find Umut’s relatives following his accident, and Kabadayı called on Russian citizens and authorities to help find Umut’s biological family. Her story was published the following day in Russian newspapers.

“I took him four years ago when he was like a baby,” Kabadayı said. “Now he is a healthy boy. I have three sons, and he is my fourth.”

Residents of Kukina’s village who saw Umut’s photographs in the media were convinced the paralyzed young man under Kabadayı’s care was the missing 27-year-old Kuklin, and appeared on a Russian TV channel to announce the news.

“Seeing the picture in the papers, we immediately realized that it was Pavel,” Lyudmila, a postman in the village, was quoted as saying.

“I ran to the family with the good news. I remember him growing up in front of my eyes. A good guy, a hard worker, Pavel left home early from him parents, married and had a daughter, and then drove off to work in Russia’s North and was suddenly gone – no sound, no spirit, vanished in the air,” he said.

Kabadayı has expressed gratitude for the support she received from Russia. “I thank them all for the support, I was surprised. I feel stronger now,” she said.

Kukina is now preparing to visit Turkey to see if Umut is indeed her son Pavel.