türkçe links to original Turkish article
(HaberTürk Newspaper, 21 February 2016)
As mom, left; today, center; real mom, right.
Turkey first met him 11 years ago via an unforgettable photo of
him withdrawing money from a bank. With a cane in his hand,
thick-rimmed glasses and a scarf on his head, Şeraffettin Gencel
had been withdrawing his dead mother's pension for two years.
After serving 14 months in prison, Gencel is now living a quiet life.
Gencel, who was a cook in the Sakarya neighborhood of Balıkesir,
found his 78 year-old mother Ümmühan Gencel dead in her bed on
10 March 2003. Gencel then buried his mother in the basement of
their house without telling any relatives. Then, to meet his expenses,
Gencel hatched a plan - he dressed up like his mother and went to the
Impeccable hosiery. You must admit, the resemblance is uncanny...
For two years Gencel was able to fool the bank tellers by imitating
his mother's gate and speech. However, in 2005 a relative tipped off
the police, who caught Gencel red-handed at the bank. After serving
his sentence, Gencel, whose nickname became "Grandma Şerafettin",
had this to say: "a film I'd watched gave me the inspiration for how
to withdraw my mother's salary. In the film the assassin dressed up
as a transvestite and killed a general. When I was a kid I often put on
women's clothes and since I resembled my mother I decided to do it.
I withdrew money posing as my mother 8 times over two years."
Continuing, Gencel explained that "my older brother in Germany came
to Turkey and insisted on seeing my mother. I dressed up as her and
fooled him, too, telling him 'mother doesn't want to see you for more
that 5 minutes. Kiss her hand and leave.' When he came I told him,
as my mother, to kiss my hand and go away. He protested but 'my
mother' waved him off. After he left I laughed for hours (!)."