15 July 2016, as a normal Friday we left work and went out for dinner in a restaurant that I love, good food and good drinks to relax after a tiring week. The streets and restaurants were full as any other Friday. I went home, watched a movie and fell asleep, but this calm night and peaceful sleep wouldn’t last long. At 23:19 the phone rings, it was my boyfriend’s father saying to look at the news, because there was militaries in Istanbul and Ankara streets talking about military coup attempt and telling us to stock water and close well all doors and windows.
I woke up in shock, confused and not understanding anything. The news showed tanks in Istanbul streets blocking the way from the European side to the Asian side of the city, militaries in a television channel saying that they were controlling the government because the current rulers are not following the laws and are robbing the population. How all of a sudden everything changes and there is an coup attempted ??
10 minutes later, while I was filling bottles with water, we received another call from my father in law saying “Pack a bag now and come to beach house because there we will be more safe. Grab your passport, documents, important things, some clothes and get out now.” It took me a few seconds to have a reaction and start moving. I put the first clothes I saw in front of me, took my documents and money, packed automatically a few things in a backpack, without really thinking what I was putting and left home with a feeling of tension, confusion and fear of what might happen. We did not knew if there would be police or military on the streets of the city where we live (Izmir), we did not know what we could find along the way, not sure we could arrive at our destination.
On the street there was no signs of problems, no police, no military, no control on the road, no tanks or helicopters. What was different and that made me more nervous were the long lines at gas stations, nothing normal for a late Friday night. And some of the smaller markets that are open 24 hours were full of people buying many groceries and several gallons of water.
We had no problems on the road, looked like an ordinary day, and we arrived at the beach house without any problems. We spent the night watching the news and trying to understand what was happening. Watching the images of tanks and militaries in Istanbul and Ankara, seeing the speech of the President requesting the people go out on the streets and fight with the militaries, we received messages on our mobile phones signed by the President making the same request.
After a night of conflict, many deaths and militaries held, the day started a little more quiet. I’d rather not comment on what I think of this situation in social networks because I’m living here and may not be so safe but I can say what I felt during that night: fear, insecurity, sadness for the lives that were lost and uncertainty about the future.
I haven’t felt the terror and the fear that the people who were in Istanbul and Ankara passed, I didn’t see any planes nor any tank, I didn’t hear any noise outside the normal, I didn’t hid afraid of the shotguns. But I suffered along by friends who were stuck at the airport, who were lying on their home floor, who cried with fear of not surviving.
I was afraid in the first hours of the evening but as the events passed and we started to understand better the situation and the facts we became calmer. And the Saturday began quietly where I was, a mix of grief and fear of what was about to come. I spent the day talking to my family and dear friends who were concerned and I thank you again for your concerns.
Throughout the day things seemed to return to “normal”, some people regretting what happened, others who have gone through worsts times were not concerned, others were already on the beach enjoying the summer as if nothing had happened. And so life goes on. In Izmir everyone was working normally.
Some facts that I find relevant to tell is that at no time the internet or social networks were blocked (as has already happened many times in Turkey) and on the other hand some carriers even gave free minutes, sms and internet packages. And from what they told me on Saturday and on Sunday the city center was full of people and cars with Turkish flags as on a holiday or a celebration of the end of the “coup”.
Now I stay feeling sadness for the hundreds of deaths and with the desire and hope of better days, not only in Turkey but all around the world.