Lonely Planet Writer

Turkish grandmother reunited with her camera full of 10 years’ worth of travel photos

A 60-year-old Turkish woman has been reunited with her lost camera containing holiday photos from the last 10 years.

turkish woman
Photo of Ayse Kurucu visiting Pisa was one of the photos on her camera.

Ayşe Kurucu left her camera in a car belonging to couple Tülin Tezel Öztemel and Emre Öztemel, who had given her a lift after she injured her ankle. The couple, who were travelling from Turkey’s Black Sea province of Rize to Georgia, posted photos from the camera to social media in an effort to find Ayşe and give the camera back.

The 62-year-old grandmother also paid a visit to the Taj Mahal
The 60-year-old grandmother also paid a visit to the Taj Mahal.

The photos went viral in Turkey and Ayşe – who became known as “Ayşe Teyze” (Aunt Ayşe) – was eventually tracked down in the Aegean province of İzmir. The couple went to meet her and returned the camera.  Ayşe began travelling 10 years ago after divorcing her husband and has since visited at least 25 countries, including France, Italy and India. The pictures that went viral included ones of Ayşe posing at icons such as the Taj Mahal and the Eiffel Tower.

Ayşe Teyze at the Eiffel Tower.

“I was upset when I realised my camera was lost”, she said. “Another camera could be bought but I could not compensate for my photographs. Those photographs were very important to me. I also had not backed them up. These photographs are from the places I visited in the past 10 years. You [the couple] gave the world to me”.

Ayşe also hit back at claims that the story was a social media hoax. “Why do people think an old woman travelling the world is strange? Why do you think this is fake? Can a middle-aged woman who is a housewife not love travelling?” she added.