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Turkey post-coup: Police with guns scare workers at YellAli

26th July 2016

Istanbul - I can still remember the fear that took over my body when the second F16 went over my flat. I was so frighted and confused, what the hell was going on? who the hell was doing this to us?

So many thoughts went through my head. I packed a bag with some clothing, and what food I had in the flat. I planned to go a friends place where I thought things would be calmer.

I never managed to leave the flat. The crowds outside made me wary and I did not want to get caught up in anything. I stayed home!

Eventually, I got to sleep around 5 am in the morning. When I woke on Saturday afternoon the attempted coup had successfully been defeated. This was a sigh of relief. Life would be normal again, or, would it?

What would come next?

Then came the anticipation of what was going to happen. There were plenty offering their opinions on what would happen next. I heard everything from, "nobody is allowed to leave Turkey" to "all foreigners will be asked to leave Turkey".  Then came the big announcement...

  ' The declaration of a state of emergency '

In a way the declaration of the state of emergency was a sigh of relief as this seemed pretty normal in light of affairs. On paper I knew what this mean, and we as YellAli published something on this matter last week. What I really was not expecting was to live this first hand.

Experiencing Turkey's post-coup first hand

The Istanbul office of YellAli is located in Astoria, Esentepe. Its usually a fairly quiet and calm place to work, so it came as a total shock to be faced with a man who had a metre long machine gun while I was elevating to the 9th floor where the YellAli offices are located.

I had never thought of it before, but I surely am aware now that one of Turkey's most successful law firms where located in the same building as YellAli, and this law firm was now under investigation for having links with the alleged mastermind of the coup, Fetullah Gulen. When the police first came in all exits where shut off to prevent anyone from escaping. This was really happening under our nose, OMG!

Stay where you are and don't move

We were informed to sit tight as we may be questioned and asked for ID. I felt sick! I knew I had nothing to worry about, but just the thought that anything was possible frightened the hell out of me. Coming from a country (UK) where even the police do not carry guns, being faced with an automatic gun made me a little wheezy to say the least.

We had to stay in our offices as that really was the best place to be in the circumstances. Anything could happen. What if they had to use their great big machine guns? The last thing I wanted was to be caught in that.

They are not looking for foreigners

So folks, there will no doubt be more offices which will experience what we did at YellAli last Friday, and your office may just be next. The best way to deal with this is to stay in your offices, stay calm, and have ID! These guys know what they are looking for, and they are not looking for foreigners.

Just thought we would share this. Stay safe!

- YellAli




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