Istanbul//Berlin: Geschichten, Gesichter, Gedanken, Politik, Stimmen, Farben, Orte, Auseinandersetzen und Zusammensitzen, Traumata und Träume.

Istanbul//Berlin: stories, faces, thoughts, politics, voices, colors, places, examinations and integrations, trauma and 'Träume' (dreams).

Samstag, 16. Juli 2016

Attempted Coup in Turkey - A personal Timeline

Taksim square in the second night after the coup-attempt

Istanbul, 21. July, 0:50
Just as I thought after days of forgetting to eat, of smoking too much, of being nervous non-stop, I could take some time to sit down and let everything sink in. I haven't even had time yet to allow some emotions. One piece of bad news is following the next: Erdogan just declared emergency state in Turkey or the next three months. I am having bad dreams about my history classes, where we very thoroughly talked about how it was possible for the German democracy to form into a dictatorship back in the day. Now I hear words such as "cleansing", "travel-ban", "purch", "decree" and "curfew" and it makes me shiver.

Istanbul, 17. July, 22:45
Despite that there are still public gatherings to celebrate Erdogan, this night seems to be more quiet, so far no reports of violence, I just hear groups of honking cars from time to time. I heard sounds reminding me of the gunsounds I had been hearing the last two nights, but it turned out to be fireworks. Apparently the government wants to legalize guns, so that people can "protect themselves from incidents like the coup", which is absurd. Many people are afraid tomorrow might be a deciding day for the future stability of turkish economy, as it is the first labour day after the attempted coup. 

Things seem to get slower and calmer. As we sit together we don't run out of topics, but, at some point, out of words. My body and brain are being forced to surrender to sleep. Good night Istanbul.

On social media, turkish friends are posting references to the Reichstag fire in Germany, an incident that prompted the Nazi regime to revoke important laws in the name of protecting the country, while really using this to extend their power, taking thousands of prisoners, which led to prison overflow, which led to the first concentration camps. The mood in my appartment is very pessimistic, young Turks now lost their last bit of hope of a change in the country that would turn it into a more humane, democratic, modern country again. Meanwhile Erdogan supporters are chanting from car convoys, waving the Turkish flag and pictures of Erdogan, celebrating the brutal smash-down of the coup attempt.

There are rumors going around that the soldiers that have been captured are being forced to strip down, possibly being tortured. There have been brutal attacks on the coup soldiers, especially after they already had surrendered.

Because we don't know what to do with ourselves we are sitting around and talk about Turkey, my flatmate's friend went downstairs to the lateshop to buy some beer when a member of the car convoy walked in, causing him to hastily hide the beers he was about to buy, scared of a fight. He came back with some chocolate.

From our window we are watching a big convoy of cars clotting the street. A friend of mine went to Moda earlier, luckily by then the fight was over, apparently it is now moving to another neighborhood. Non-stop car honking outside.

16. July 2016, 23:20
As dawn is covering the city in darkness again, car horns and police sirens become audible, I heard some shooting sounds again. Looking out from my window I see big groups of cars driving towards the student neighborhood Moda, with Turkey flags waving from their windows. Apparently the peaceful marches of people celebrating the fail of the coup have turned violent in this neighborhood, as people were attacked for drinking alcohol outside.

Waking up to an eerie silence, the sun is shining, nobody is on the street.

Things seem to have quieted down for now.

Our house just started shaking for a moment waking up one in the round who had fallen asleep, we are not sure what happened. Outside Erdogan supporters are chanting paroles through loudspeakers. A friend of a friends writes per message about another explosion in Ankara.

Erdogan is holding a speech, using big words and an yelling voice he talks about disgrace, togetherness and unity.

Erdogan arrives at Atatürk airport, as covered by national telvision. It seems to be over.

CNN is being shut down while being live. The soldiers have entered the very news studio that they are broadcasting from until a few seconds ago. The news anchor and everyone in the building of the news station is asked to leave. On screen: the empty studio, and the picture breaks off.

We just all trough ourselves to the ground of the little living room, as two jets flew so close past our house we thought there was an explosion and we had to cover our ears, afterwards a short shocked silence, one guy tries to roll himself a cigarette with his trembling hands.

The newsanchor of CNN Turk gets panicked as she has been told that soldiers just entered and try to take over the building that she is broadcasting from. Again we here jets flying. On a phone I see a video of a group of bodies smashed by a tank.

An explosion happened in Istanbul. People have followed Erdogans call and took to the street, climing on tanks. We hear another jetplane outside. The mood in this little living room sways between silent headnodding and heated discussion, the Turkish news anchor is speaking without stopping.

In total there have been three big explosion sounds near the parliament building in Istanbul, one was associated with hitting the council, the other two seem to have been "sound bombs" to scare off approaching police.

Apparently the building of the parlament in Ankara was bombed. Just as everything seemed to be calming down in the last few minutes. The Turks that I am sitting in a living room with keep saying "Shit, it's a war." On the screen there is a big cloud over the council building in Ankara, followed by a helicopter that is firing shots. Blue ambulance lights are flashing on the screen, all lights in the parliament building have been turned off, the building is covered in a cloud of smoke from the explosion, around me the Turks start discussing, to fast for me to follow.

On the tv pictures of tanks moving onto the bridges in Istanbul, injured people crouching on the ground, ducking from fire of uncertain origin. Rumors about Erdogans whereabouts are varying, some say Italy, some Iran, some Turkey. From the window we can hear people shouting Erdogans name, praising Allah. We are sitting in the living room smoking and following the news. Live news show groups of people waving the turkish flag and climbing on military vehicles, outside police sirens and helicopters are audible, a few minutes ago the usual prayer call of the mosque seemed strangely out of place.

My flatmate called me, to check the fridge for food. I didn't understand how he could be thinking about dinner, but then I realized there apparently is a curfew. I panicked a little and packed my bag, debating what is important anyway, just passport, food, water. On the street people are storming the bakeries that have already run out of bread though, supermarkets are giving out water, people are trying to break into a late-shop. People are preparing for a longer-lasting curfew. At my friends flat we are sitting in front of the tv, phones are buzzing, Erdogan contacted the news via phone, calling his supporters to take to the streets and fight the coup, which is beyond my comprehension, as he is fueling streetfights.


After receiving a cryptic text by a friend about staying home tonight I thought there was another bombing happening, but this time, it's different. Apparently there is a coup happening, a group within the army has claimed to take power over the country. As I ran to the balcony I hear jets flying over the city, everybody is at their windows with their phones, and I also start to make some hectic phone calls to find out what is happening and if everybody is safe. This is what I know so far: A group within the military has formed which is trying to take over the government, they blocked the bridges in Istanbul and the airport in Ankara, gunshots can be heard in the streets, apparently the headquarters of Erdogan were bombed.


  1. schreib bitte wenn soziale Medien down sind, noch schreiben wir grad mit allen

  2. Mach ich, im Moment scheint es alles zu funktionieren!