Turkish couples, some marking platinum and diamond wedding anniversaries, credit the power of love for their strong relationships as Turkey celebrates Valentine's Day.
Halil and Ayşe Dindar are welcoming another Valentine’s Day in their now 74-year marriage. While they may be in the twilight of their lives, 91-year-old Halil and 93-year-old Ayşe have never lost the love they had when they first got married all those years ago.
Living in the western Turkish province of Bilecik and working as farmers, they stood by their marriage vows, for better or worse, for richer or poorer. Nowadays, they help make up for each other's weaknesses and "guide" one another, with Halil serving as his wife's eyes after she partially lost her sight with old age, while Ayşe does the listening since her husband suffers from hearing problems. The couple lives with one of their three children and has 18 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.
The couple wed in 1948 through an arranged marriage but say they have never had a disagreement. “It is about getting along,” Ayşe says when asked about the secret to a happy marriage. “The husband should not raise his voice and the wife should do the same when they have a dispute,” she told Anadolu Agency (AA) on Sunday.
Temel Ahmet and Hacer Gözde are marking their 46th year of marriage. The couple, who moved to a nursing home in the southern province of Adana seven years ago, says they never lost their love and respect for one another over the years. “Marriages nowadays do not last long because couples cannot tolerate each other. If you get angry at your spouse, you should shut up and wait for your anger to go away,” Temel Ahmet says. He says that couples these days are eager to get rich quickly, which causes disputes when one doesn't earn enough. “We had nothing for years, neither a house nor a car, but we collected enough money to buy them. You cannot have happiness at home if you quarrel about money,” he says. Hacer Gözde says they have had their arguments over the years but "time flies" once you learn to "understand each other.”
For disabled couples, the key to lasting marriages is supporting each other, like Mustafa and Armağan Kayıkçı. A couple living in the northern province of Zonguldak say they are a perfect match. Married for 26 years, visually impaired Mustafa and his wife Armağan, who suffers from orthopedic issues that make walking difficult, say they overcome challenges together with the love and respect they have for each other. “I fell in love with him when I first saw him and was glad to get married,” Armağan Kayıkçı says about her husband. “We went through difficult times but our marriage stood strong because we have love,” she told AA. Mustafa Kayıkçı says although he has never seen his wife, he knows from the heart “how beautiful she is.”
Sevinç and Celal Bozkurt, another couple living in the province of Düzce, say their love “knew no disabilities.” They met at a vocational training course 18 years ago and decided to get married despite opposition from their families. “Love is about overcoming challenges. It has been 18 years and we have two children now. Our loving bond never ceased,” she says.