Marriage proposals are deeply entrenched in Turkish culture. According to tradition, the groom's parents ask the bride's family for her hand. But this custom has been interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak. Yet Cevahir Çınkır wasn't going to let social distancing separate his family from its traditions. His solution –proposal via video call.
The 32-year-old Turkish groom’s parents asked for the bride’s hand in marriage via a video call from the comfort of their home, skipping the custom whereby they are expected to bring chocolates or flowers as gifts for the bride's family.
Çınkır, who runs a hair transplant clinic in the U.K., came to Istanbul recently to propose to his girlfriend Melike Işıklar who lives there. His family, living in the southern city of Kahramanmaraş, had planned to travel to Manisa in western Turkey to perform the custom, but the outbreak which disrupted daily life also hampered their plans. When Melike’s family accepted to forego the tradition, the groom traveled to Manisa to visit the family while his parents stayed at home. The groom's family joined the small ceremony via video call on Wednesday night where his father Rüştü Çınkır uttered the words, “I ask your daughter for my son.” They had to suffice with watching the couple putting on engagement rings from about 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) away.
“We were supposed to travel to Manisa with a large group of relatives but coronavirus risk forced us to scrap the plans,” Çınkır told Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Thursday. “Doing it via cellphone was something out of the blue. I never imagined that I would ask my son's in-laws for their daughter this way,” Çınkır said. Still, they want to organize a proper wedding party if the outbreak ends, “either in July or August.”
Çınkır says he came up with the idea of a video call as he did not want to risk his parents as his mother Medine suffers from a chronic illness, and it would be too risky for her to travel to Manisa. “Of course, I wouldn’t want this ceremony held this way, but it is more important for us to protect our families,” Melike Işıklar says.