The Story Of The Great Love Between Sabri And Güzid

The Story Of The Great Love Between Sabri And Güzid

KAFA, a monthly magazine published in Turkey, has published an article on the great love between Sabri Ülker, Ülker's founder, and his wife Güzide Ülker. Today is the third anniversary of Sabri Ülker’s death. He and Güzide Ülker shared the same bed for 61 years with a love story that is just as thrilling and colorful as a movie. In keeping with how she lived her life, Güzide passed away quietly in September five years ago.

She said farewell serenely. It fell onto her beloved husband to say goodbye to her. If it were up to him, he would have wanted to die before his wife, whom he called "Güzid."  Then, he, too, said goodbye to the world on June 12, 2012. Although he enjoyed tranquility as much as his wife did, his passing made waves. This was because he was Sabri Ülker.

He was a notable, renowned and distinguished personality about whom everyone had something to say. On the third anniversary of his passing, it is natural to talk about Sabri Ülker through his work: Ülker. Nevertheless, according to his inner circle, the thing that described Sabri Ülker as a person was not his work, but his wife. May God have mercy on both their souls. Let's learn a bit more about the love between Sabri and his beloved wife. Sabri had only the most beautiful words for "Güzid," otherwise known as his cherished wife Güzide.

It goes without saying that she had the most beautiful words for him as well.  Their fathers met first. You’d think that only the movies would tell the love story of a man who built huge factories and accomplished great feats. Still, his children and grandchildren all say: What they had was a love story. Even though the boy's side of the story is well-known, the same can't be said about the girl's side.

Güzide was born in Balıkesir in 1924, which means she was four years younger than Sabri.  She grew up in Balıkesir with her tradesman father Muharrem İman, mother Sabiha and four siblings. However, her life was to change in Istanbul, where her family moved due to her father's business. They settled in the Beylerbeyi neighborhood. Muharrem set up a hardware store in Tahtakale. The boy's side of the story is well-known. His family emigrated to Istanbul from Crimea and established a business in the Nohutçu Han in Eminönü.

Tahtakale and Eminönü are a stone's throw away from each other. Their fathers met and became friends. Since one had a son and the other had a daughter, who were at the right age for marriage, they began to discuss their children's futures.  The story is a familiar "arranged marriage" one up until this point. The excitement actually begins after this point as they both fell for each other at first sight. However, they were not able to date. Sabri Ülker was doing his compulsory military service in faraway Diyarbakır at the time. He went AWOL for his love because his heart remained in Istanbul. That 29-year-old principled young man, who is known for his patience and for being a stickler when it comes to following the rules, did something incomprehensible so as to see her:He deserted his brigade in Diyarbakır! Let's face it—it was no easy thing to go AWOL in Diyarbakır and travel to Istanbul in the year 1948.

This desertion was a small introduction to the things Sabri Ülker was going to do for Güzide Hanım later on. He paid for it by appearing before a military court. Thankfully, he got away with only one week of incarceration. They got married on May 20, 1949, after he completed his military service. Sabri would drop the letter "e" from the end of Güzide's name and call her "Güzid," which means "distinguished."  Güzide preferred to address Sabri as "Bey," or husband, which was the customary way to address one's husband back in those days.  That was the only thing that was similar to other marriages of that time. 

Sabri Ülker loved his wife enough to break down all the traditional husband roles. He was so fond of her that he would help her out with household chores, despite all of his other work. Güzide did not want a live-in maid in the house. So their children remember their father cleaning up the table, or getting the stove going when the house did not yet have central heating.  They still recall how he would prepare breakfast on Sundays for his wife. They witnessed many times the degree to which he would fuss over her. Sometimes he would even tell them, "Make sure not to dirty too many things, you don't want to get your mother tired from washing them."  If his wife asked for something, he would do it.  Alas, even though he did everything in his power to prevent his wife from getting upset or tired, it is not possible to control fate. Sabri Ülker embraced his faith to ease his wife's pain when they lost their middle child, Ali. He took it upon himself to take care of the children to relieve her. His priority was always Güzide in his private life.

He loved the food Güzide loved, went on the vacations she wanted to go on. He even sang the songs she requested. When they traveled long distances by car for the summer holidays, Güzide would request a song, and Sabri Ülker would sing it for her while driving. Today, they lie side by side. When Sabri got older, he wanted to go on the "Blue Voyage." However, since Güzide did not want to sleep on the boat, they disembarked every night to stay at a hotel. Güzide also loved Sabri deeply.

As a matter of fact, when Sabri Ülker became bedridden in the last years of his life, her mind could not bear it. She would console herself by telling herself that her beloved husband was away at work. Her children feared that she had Alzheimer's disease. However, the doctor said it was just a symptom caused by the sadness she felt about her husband's illness. Unfortunately, she spent her last years waiting for her husband to return from work.  But in her mind, this was not a burden.  Because what she was waiting for was the man that she loved.  She left the world before he did and did not see him die.  The day she longed for came at last. Now, they lie side by side—just as they did in life.  

Kafa June 1 
Posta June 12, 2015

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