Taksim Square, My Turkey Love Affair & a Military Coup

Some people say that my repeat visits to Turkey are a complete waste of money. Some suggest that I should instead be going to a different county every time I plan a foreign visit. Despite what they say, somehow, I keep coming back to Turkey.

Today I was at Taksim Square and later visited Galata tower, which by the way, looks even better during the night. Taksim reminded me of a story, and I thought to share it with you guys. But before that, I want to give you some back story about Pakistani people.

Due to constant terrorist attacks in Pakistan, two things happened to Pakistanis. One that I’m proud of and the other one that I’m ashamed of.

I’m proud of the fact that Pakistanis live with tawakkul which roughly translates into trusting in God’s plan. Most countrymen are not afraid of death or misfortune on the same level as most other people in the world. Despite seeing so much, Pakistani people continued with their lives, became fearless in the face of adversity and started to live with tawakkul and hope that nothing bad will happen. And if it does, it is meant to be. This makes it easier and better to live life despite the adversity.

The second thing, which I’m ashamed of, is that with so much pain also came acceptance of pain to the point that some people stopped feeling pain at times. This roughly means that many people became impassive or beyhis, showed no emotion or became cold at the time of adversity.

I think both the things are linked. They are just different reactions to same events.

Now back to the Taksim story. It was June of 2016. There was a terrorist attack at Ataturk airpot in Istanbul. I was still in Pakistan at that time. I had a trip to Turkey scheduled for July 2016. I went ahead with my plan and came to Turkey. My hotel was booked at Taksim square. It was my 2nd day in the city and I started hearing helicopters, jets and gunshots. In the next couple of minutes, I found out there is a coup under process.

We were asked to stay in-doors through out the evening. There was a lot of violence during the night but everything had cleared by morning. Turkish people fought off the coup with bare hands and by morning they had won and had foiled the coup attempt.

Audio recording from the hotel room at Taksim square

There was a massive celebration the following day at Taksim square. I celebrated too and was able to spot other Pakistanis doing the same.

I’m happy that Turkey is able to come out of that time and I hope they will defeat the economic turmoil too.

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