Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Coup and House Arrest

We landed in Izmir around 7:00 on Friday night, got home, and a few hours later, a coup happened. How's that for a wild Friday night?

Actually, things were pretty calm in Izmir the entire time. Around 11:00pm, we got a Facebook message from a friend saying there was a possible coup in Turkey.  We ran out to our balcony to see what was going on and all we saw were people drinking tea.  A normal Friday night. When we turned on the news, they were reporting about Trump's VP pick (side note: we get American news, not Turkish news).  In a matter of minutes, though, things changed.  Trump was cut off mid-sentence to show images of Istanbul in chaos and Facebook and Reddit started exploding with reports of the coup.  We were told by the US military that we were to stay inside and not leave.

Still, the people of Izmir drank tea.

We quickly packed a bag in case we had to leave and sat and waited.  We watched things unfold on the news and finally people here started to get wind of what was happening up north and in their capital. Around 1:00am, cars started honking and flags waving in what we think was in support of the coup.  At some point, we watched Erdogan address the nation via FaceTime and ask his supporters to take to the streets in unity.  Around 3:00am, we decided to go to bed.  Things didn't seem to be changing in Istanbul, Ankara or in Izmir.

Still, the people of Izmir drank tea.

When we woke up on Saturday, we saw that the coup had failed.  We were still supposed to stay inside, but things in Izmir were calm.  The only people outside on Saturday morning was one guy wandering around playing Pokemon Go.  Even that night, things were quiet. We heard some more cars honking, but there weren't any protests that we saw.  Actually, it was probably one of the calmer weekends we've experienced here.

Still, the people of Izmir drank tea.

By Sunday, we received word that the commissary would be open for two hours and that we would be allowed to leave our house for food.  Mike went and stocked up on stuff to get us through the next few days, while I stayed at home and prepared for the movers that were coming the next day.  Things outside stayed calm, but more and more people were out and about.  We heard about ongoing protests in Istanbul and Ankara and some of unrest within the government, but things in Izmir resumed as normal.

Still, the people of Izmir drank tea.

We went to bed on Sunday ready for the movers to come, but unsure of when we'd be allowed to leave the house...or the country.