The prime minister burst into tears when the imam asked people to pray for the soul of his mother. Tenzile Erdoğan died in hospital, days after a gall bladder operation.
Thousands of people filled the courtyard of İstanbul’s Fatih Mosque, where the funeral prayer was held, and many spilled out onto the streets outside the mosque. Erdoğan, who helped carry the coffin along with President Abdullah Gül, was seen openly weeping. The Turkish prime minister’s affection for his mother was a well-known fact. He used to regularly visit his mother in her home in İstanbul despite his busy schedule.
Tenzile Erdoğan’s death not only brought the mother-child relationship and the notion of death into the spotlight, prompting many to reflect on their relationships with their mothers, it has had a softening effect on the political atmosphere in the country, with Erdoğan’s rivals, including Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli kindly offering their condolences to the prime minister.
The state-run Anatolia news agency said US President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad are among the leaders who have expressed their condolences.