Winnipegger in Turkey recounts attempted coup
Paula Ethans says people are gathering to celebrate and she hopes it stays peaceful
Paula Ethans went to Turkey to work with Syrian refugees but the Winnipegger has found herself in a country during a failed attempt at a coup.
The 23-year-old University of Ottawa law student is living in a house not far from Taksim Square in Istanbul, where bullets rang out into the night sky and jets flew overhead on Friday.
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Ethans said she and a group of friends were planning to head out into the city when they received a call that there were police and military everywhere in Istanbul. About an hour later, she found out that the military was attempting to overthrow the government.
"We started hearing the people demonstrating. Soon after that we could hear bullets going off, we could also hear protests," Ethans said.
"We could hear, at some points, gunfire and we could hear explosions."
Ethans said they were calm at first but once they began hearing the explosions they turned off all of their lights and got low on the floor, where they would stay for many hours.
"At about five in the morning there was a sonic boom when one of the military jets broke the speed of sound and it reverberated all over the city, it shook windows," she said.
Forces loyal to the Turkish government fought on Saturday to crush what was left of the coup attempt which crumbled after crowds took to the streets and dozens of rebels abandoned their tanks.
Ethans said when she woke up the morning after it was like waking up in a different city.
"We woke up this morning and it was very calm, eerily calm perhaps," she said.
"People are arriving in masses, driving in cars and honking, proudly waving flags, and gathering in Taksim Square," she said.
"They are in high sprits, celebrating the dismantling of the coup attempt. Hopefully the demonstration tonight will remain peaceful and they will not meet resistance."
"It will be one of those situations where you keep checking the status right until you leave to the airport," she said.
She added she has been receiving regular updates from the Canadian embassy through email.
It's not the way she expected her internship to end but Ethans said she is just hoping that peace will prevail.
"We woke up in Turkey to the news of the attack in Nice and we went to bed with the news of an attempted coup and conflict in Turkey," she said. "It's really sad to see and hear that all of these horrible things are happening."