Their parents divorced when he was one year old and she hadn’t been born, and they never saw each other again.
Two siblings separated for 75 years have been reunited as elderly in eastern Turkey: an incredible story about which a documentary is now being made and which will tell the incredible tale of Hanım Turan and Ihsan Köker, who for almost their entire lives lived unaware that they had a sibling and separated by more than 1,300 kilometres apart.
Hanım, who lives in İzmit province – northwest of Turkey – but was born in the eastern province of Kars, was given by her mother at birth to her grandmother when she divorced her husband while pregnant, while her brother Ihsan , then only a year old, stayed with his father.
Father and mother never spoke to each other again, but the interesting – and sad – thing is that neither of them ever told Hanım or Ihsan that they had another sibling. At the age of 16 Hanım married and went to live with her husband to the industrial city of İzmit, south of Istanbul, while Ihsan continued to live in Kars, where he was raised by his uncle after his father passed away when he was only 3 years.
In 2006 her uncle revealed to him on his deathbed that he had a sister
It wasn’t until her uncle Yusuf passed away in 2006 that, on his deathbed, he revealed to Ihsan that he had a sister by saying only these words: “Your sister has stepbrothers in İzmir. Find them.” With this single clue, Ihsan had to wait another 10 years intrigued knowing that he had a sister somewhere; until his daughter, Halime Nazik, found in İzmir – as Uncle Yusuf had said – Yaşar, Hanım’s half-brother.
Yaşar then gave Halime the phone number in İzmit of Ihsan’s supposed sister, but when Halime tried to contact her she encountered another obstacle: Hanım refused to believe that strange story that the caller was the daughter of her supposed brother, whom she had never met. It didn’t matter how many times she called her: Hanım thought this was some kind of joke and refused to speak further.
However, when Orhan – Hanım’s son a journalist by profession – heard about the calls, he wanted to find out what was behind the story; his investigation ended up bringing the truth to light and revealing that, indeed, his mother had a brother whom she did not know. He finally convinced her to arrange a meeting with him, and finally last August the emotional meeting took place in the Kağızman district of Kars province, where Ihsan resides.
“I never knew I had a brother”
“My mother divorced my father when he decided to take a second wife. I was not born then. She left me in the care of my grandparents and married another man. I never knew that I had a brother when I lived in Kars; I knew that my father had died, but I never heard anything about having a brother,” Hanım says.
Ihsan for his part explains that it wasn’t until his uncle revealed it to him on his deathbed that he found out that he had a sister. “My daughter called her several times, but she did not believe her and told her not to call her again. Everything changed when (her son) Orhan contacted us,” he says with emotion. 75 years later, these two Turkish siblings – he is 76 years old, and she is 75 – at last they are reunited together.
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As a history lover, Pablo was captivated by Turkey from the first day he visited it in 2006: he got married there, has a house there… and has since become an expert on Turkey’s current affairs. With a long experience in media, he has been at the helm of hispanatolia.com since 2011, and now also of anatoliatoday.com