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Mr. Berna Yılmaz's Interview with Posta Newspaper

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In this exclusive interview; There is one of Turkey's strong and leading women who is naive, discreet, dedicated to education! Although he never got involved in politics, he spent his life in politics. Berna Yılmaz is the wife of former Prime Minister Mesut Yılmaz, who passed away on October 30, 2020 at the age of 73, and the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Kent University. Although She lived like an ordinary citizen, she was one of Turkey's most beloved First Ladies. On December 16, 2017, his eldest son Yavuz Yılmaz committed suicide at the age of 38. While the pain of his son did not subside, he also lost his companion Mesut Bey. Berna spoke to POSTA for the first time after losing Mesut Yılmaz.

While the whole world was struggling with the pandemic, you lost your precious wife Mesut Yılmaz. How did the process develop?

After a long period of discomfort and surgery, we lost my precious wife. Mesut's illness started as lung cancer in January 2019, the year after our late son Yavuz passed away. He recovered after surgery and chemotherapy treatments. There were no health problems until May 2020. In May, we went to the doctor with a complaint of dizziness and it turned out that he had metastases in his brain. He had surgery immediately, but there were unexpected negative developments afterward. The 46-day hospital period started and he passed away despite the endless efforts of our doctors.

How was his recent psychology and outlook on life?

My wife's psychology collapsed with the pain of the untimely loss of our late son. Since Mesut was very secretive and did not show his feelings, he lived in his pain. He couldn't stand our son's pain. I think this pain was the beginning of his brutal illness. It was hard for him to outlive our son.

MESUT'S ENTIRE WILL WAS THE ADVICE HE GIVEN TO OUR SON HASAN

What did you talk about in your last period, did you have any wills?

He was not a talkative person in his private life either. After the loss of our son, it became even quieter. He started to share his business life and personal feelings with our younger son Hasan more than before. Our great granddaughter Ceylin has been the light of life and the greatest support of her life. Our little grandson Mesut Kaan multiplied these feelings and lived in peace until his last moments. All his life, we lived a life where we shared everything. All his testament was the advice he gave to our son Hasan. While in the hospital, she gave him advice about his future and our family.

WOMEN LIVING IN A SON'S ANGLE ARE MORE NATURAL, MEN ARE MORE RESISTANT

Mesut Bey would visit Yavuz's grave every Friday when he was alive, right?

It's true. On Fridays, he used to visit Yavuz first and pray with the teachers of the neighboring mosques around us, and then he would join the prayer. I am also grateful to our teachers, the same ritual continued after Mesut's illness. Now they continue this ritual for both my Yavuz and my Mesut. Women who experience the pain of a child will be more naive, men will be more resilient. Men also cry, but they close and wet the pillow, women share it more easily.

What was the attitude of your other son, Hasan, in the face of these painful losses?

Our dear Hasan is very emotional, but at the same time, he has a very resilient, resilient character who can handle the administration calmly. He faced suffering at a very young age. I recently lost my mother too. He made great efforts to sustain, comfort and protect us all in all three of our sufferings, thank you. Meanwhile, he did not neglect his family. The loss of his grandfather was a huge blow for my grandson Ceylin, but Hasan calmed him down by explaining that death is a very natural event in the flow of life and that love will never be lost.

WITHIN THREE YEARS, I LOSE MY SON, MY MOTHER AND MY WIFE

So, how would you describe the pain you experience?

Throughout my life, I have been as calm and patient as possible in situations where I have faced negativity. This may be due to my upbringing principles. My pain was too great. In three years, I lost my beloved son, my only mother, and my precious wife. I will cherish your memories in the most honorable way. I have never felt lonely because I have my dear children, my dear grandchildren, and friends who have never left me, and a big family.

MESUT WANTED A DEMOCRATIC LIFE UNTIL THE END OF LIFE

What would Mr. Yılmaz think about the state of the country?

Mesut was a person who loved his country very much and sometimes even put it before his family. He longed for prosperity, peace and a democratic life until the end of his life. He tried to support the statesmen who ruled the country in every period. He did not hesitate to share his knowledge and experience. The most important problems for him; male violence, harassment, deception, murder. He was ashamed to see and hear such news. We used to talk about how we missed a country and the world where they didn't exist.

45 YEARS WITH RESPECT AND LOVE

Yours was a marriage that lasted 44 years. How do you deal with the loss of your companion? Have you received psychological support?


If we add the 1 year that started with our friendship, ours was a 45-year relationship. 45 years lived with pain, sweetness, success, respect and love... Our daughter-in-law and two grandchildren are our greatest wealth. Unfortunately, our eldest son, whom we have sadly said goodbye to, left incredible pain in our hearts. Mesut could endure this pain for three years. I have received a special support from a close friend and I am trying to implement it.

FAMILY RELATIONS MAY BE WEAK FOR ANYONE WHO STRIVES TO MAKE STATE ADMINISTRATION RIGHT

We got to know Mesut Bey with his political identity in front of the cameras. What was he like as husband, father, friend, friend?

A person who is trying to do the state administration, which is an honorable duty, may be weak in family relations. The mother should be more active in order not to reflect the lack of this situation to the children and to close this untimelyness of the father. While raising my children, I gladly fulfilled this duty. We have a lot to share together; holidays, holidays, travels, election trips, celebrations... Since Yavuz was abroad for his education, Hasan had the chance to live these beautiful times with us more. I, on the other hand, accompanied Mesut in every political task by always supporting him.

OUR TARGET IS TO EDUCATE SCIENTIFIC PEOPLE THAT SERVE ALL HUMANITY

Istanbul Kent University, for which you are the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, is an important institution for education. It was Yavuz's dream and you fulfilled it. Do you have similar projects to keep the memory of Mesut Bey alive?

Istanbul Kent University is Yavuz's spiritual legacy, his trust. Seeing this sensitivity in all my colleagues working at our university makes me feel proud as a manager as well as as a mother. When I am not on campus, I closely follow the activities of our university and all the processes of our students. I am happy and proud to see their progress. Our goal is to raise scientists who serve all humanity. We do our best for this. We are planning social responsibility projects with our university and foundation in order to keep the name of my dear wife Mesut alive. First, we donated his and Yavuz's personal libraries as Research Library.

What are the projects carried out with the University by the Foundation for Accessible Education (ENEV), of which you are the founding foundation and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the university?

As part of the World Disability Awareness Day on 3 December, we organized a webinar called "Inspirational Ones" with the participation of our paralympic athletes. In addition, we started the 'Online Support Services Project' for individuals with special needs and their mothers, which is continued with our child development teachers and students with the support of TUBITAK. They examine the effects on the quality of life and physical activity of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their mothers aged 25-50 staying at home due to COVID-19. All members of our university add value to life with projects and activities in line with the mission of the founding foundation. It connects me to life and I am motivated.

Why is education so important to you?

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” So true! Our Rector Prof. Dr. Mehmet Necmettin Atsü, our valuable academicians and our administrative staff, who provide all their physical and social opportunities, are working hard to give justice to this promise. As the board of trustees, we support these successful and idealistic people as much as we can to encourage them.

I WILL LIVE THE NAME OF MESUT AND YAVUZ

You created a memory forest on the second anniversary of Yavuz Bey's death. Can you talk about this project?

As long as Istanbul Kent University exists, I will keep the names of Mesut and Yavuz alive. Our graduates from here and people who have passed through this institution will commemorate them as education volunteers. In the second year of Yavuz's death, we wanted to create a Memorial Forest as his family. As the trees grow in this forest, Yavuz's name will live on there too. I would like to thank Bekir Pakdemirli, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, and Ekrem İmamoğlu, Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, for their valuable support in realizing the memorial forest. Meanwhile, our library, which Yavuz was eagerly waiting for on campus, has moved to its new building. While designing every corner of the library to which Mesut Bey and I donated our personal collections, we set out with the idea that "Yavuz would like it to be like this". It makes me proud to have this unique structure on our campus that will benefit the entire academic community and our students.

Mr. Berna Yılmaz's Interview with Posta Newspaper

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