Greek passengers who happened to be at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport during the attempted military coup that took place on Friday night were trapped at the airport. The travelers say that there was panic among passengers who did not know what was happening.
“It was an unusual situation,” says Dimitris Strakos, a dentist, speaking to the national state broadcaster ERT. Traveling from Athens to Osaka in Japan via Istanbul, he found himself trapped in transit along with another 50 or so Greeks.
“It was a difficult night. We could hear the airplanes flying overhead, explosions from bombs and gunfire. The entire building shook. We saw dozens of people running around the airport, panic-stricken, trying to hide in the toilets or other safe places. Nobody knew exactly what was going on,” he said, noting that things had calmed down by dawn.
“We did not know whether we would return to Greece or whether we would continue our flight,” he said, adding that despite making telephone contact with the Greek Consul of Ankara there was still no solution.
The national broadcaster also reports that among Greeks trapped in Turkey was a delegation from Kavala that included officials from the region. They were on a bus to take part at UNESCO’s conference on the inclusion of Philippi as a World Heritage Site.