Student - 19 juli 2016

'It was a fucking warzone'

Tutku Yuksel is a student from Wageningen with a big Turkish family. Some of them witnessed the coup from their homes. Everyone was updated on what happened through Whatsapp.

Photo: Ronald van Drie

The International development student scrolls through her messages on her phone in her back yard. 'Look, right here, my uncle is going to his bomb shelter here at around one o'clock.' The uncle lives in the capital Ankara, just a stone throw away from a political bureau. The soldiers fought out a battle right in front of his house. 'It was a fucking warzone out there,' says Yuksel.

Around a quarter to eleven in the evening, Dutch time, she started to notice something was up in Turkey. She was was just about to go to bed when her cousin who lives in Istanbul texted: 'Why are there so many soldiers in the streets?' An aunt who also lives in the city replied: 'There are helicopters and fighter jets over here, flying very close to the ground over the city. What's going on?'

There are helicopters and fighter jets over here, flying very close to the ground over our buildings. What's going on?
Yuksel's aunt


When another uncle from the city told them that the bridge crossing the Bosporus Straight was closed, it became clear to them it was a coup, Tutku tells. 'They were all terrified over there. They heard gunfire and that there was heavy fighting going on in the city, but there was nothing on the news on television. When it all started they had no idea what was going on. Only through Twitter and Facebook you could see reports about what was happening but the social media were taken down soon after.'

Getting gas
Her father was outside Ankara on holiday, in a town called Kirsehir, which is a three our drive from the Turkish capital. He told her that he didn't see anything of the coup in town. A cousin who lives in Antalya reported that it was also quiet in his city. Yuksel points to her phone, 'he says here that when it became clear that this was a coup, people rushed to the gas station to fill up the tank. There was a traffic jam in front of his house in the middle of the night because there was a gas station on the other side of the road.'

Everybody in Turkey is happy that the coup failed, says Yuksel. 'Seculars, islamists, Kurds, conservatives or socialists, nobody was waiting for a coup to happen. My uncle and aunt have gone through three coups already and they say that with every one of them, the country was in a worse state after. It just ruins a country completely.'


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