Tourist terror in Turkey coup bid

Councillor Terry Rogers.
Councillor Terry Rogers.

Fleetwood residents feared for their safety after being caught up in the violent mayhem of a failed military coup in Turkey.

Nearly 300 people perished in the chaos which was unleashed when members of the country’s military tried to oust president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Among those holed up in the country was well known Fleetwood councillor Terry Rogers, who heard gunfire from his hotel in holiday resort Marmaris where an attempt was made on the life of President Erdogan.

He even saw the army helicopter which flew in to bomb the president as the coup was launched last Friday night.

Coun Rogers, who is chairman of Fleetwood Town Council, at first feared terrorists from Islamic State were targeting tourists as gunfire sounded outside.

Coun Rogers, 56, who is now safely back in Fleetwood said: “For an hour we had no idea what was happening and we feared it was Islamic State.

“We could heard shooting and knew something serious was kicking off.

“There was a blackout on media and the Internet so we were totally in the dark about what was going on.

“That was the worst time. We just wanted to get home safely.”

Another Fleetwood holidaymaker in Turkey at the time of the coup was Carol Evans, well known to customers of Fleetwood’s Scotch Baker on Lord Street, where she works.

Carol, 41, of Poulton Street, Fleetwood, was in the resort of Kusadasi on the country’s western coast.

Although there was no fighting in the Kusadasi, guests were told to stay in their hotel as news of the coup reached them.

Carol, who coming to the end of a two-week holiday with her partner, 51 year old Neil Buston, said: “Everyone in the hotel was scared because we didn’t know what could happen.

“The rep from our travel firm, Thompsons, came to the hotel and told us what was happening but she stayed calm and said we would be safe.

“We were told to stay in our hotel and not go out at all.

“We had been having a lovely holiday and were due to come home on the Saturday when it all broke out.

“We’ve never been caught up in anything like this before.

“Our flight was on Saturday night and we thought we might not be able to fly out. We were just glad when the plane took off.

“I would go back to Turkey, it’s a lovely place, but I wouldn’t go there at this time.

“We were told people from Britain were trying to cancel their holidays because they were worried about going.”

Coun Rogers, an ex-British army man himself who is Wyre’s Armed Forces Champion, had also been on holiday for two weeks with his partner.

The councillor, who lives at Langwood Court, Fleetwood, added: “When we realised it was a coup we relaxed a bit because we knew they would not be targeting tourists but it was still quite alarming to know what was going on.

“We thought we may have problems getting out on the Saturday and we were just glad to fly out.”

The military coup was launched by the secular army amidst their concerns that President Erdogan was taking the country down a more overtly Islamic route, and there were skermishes across the country, including Istanbul.

But the president has a great deal of support within the country and the coup failed, leading to the subsequent arrest of 6,000 military staff and the suspension of around 3,000 judges.

The Foreign Office advises that the situation appears to be calming and resorts favoured by British do not now appear to be affected; however, FO officials advise vigilance in the resorts.