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How Did Erdogan Come To Istanbul From Marmaris?

The owner of the biggest share in the failure of the coup attempt, is no doubt the patriotic people who put forth their chests and bodies against the tanks on that night: the 246 of our people who fell as martyrs and the thousands who were injured. The first resistance against the coup took place upon realizing it was a coup attempt.

How Did Erdogan Come To Istanbul From Marmaris

The owner of the biggest share in the failure of the coup attempt, is no doubt the patriotic people who put forth their chests and bodies against the tanks on that night: the 246 of our people who fell as martyrs and the thousands who were injured. The first resistance against the coup took place upon realizing it was a coup attempt.

The streets heated up and crowds rushed to popular urban venues immediately after President Erdogan’s televised statement: "I invite my fellow citizens onto the streets and squares. I will be with them.". During the short period after the coup announcement was broadcasted on TV, the gloomy atmosphere across the country was dissolved by Erdogan's call and gave way to the feeling of protecting the government, the homeland, national will, and democracy. In his speech broadcasted on CNN at 0:25 a.m., President Erdogan promised to be at the venues in person andto join his nation. In reply to the question, "Will you come to Istanbul?" by the presenter, Erdogan did not specify the place and only said "I will be among my people."

Following these statements, people started to make predictions as to whether Erdogan will go to Istanbul, or Ankara, or somewhere else. Meanwhile Erdogan was preparing to leave his hotel in Marmaris for Dalaman and from there to Istanbul. This moment was the beginning of a new chapter both for our country and for President Erdogan. Witness statements demonstrate that the coup attempt directly targeted the president and Erdogan was leaving for Istanbul, bearing many dangers on the way to represent the nation's will.

Greek Islands Offer

When the coup was attempted by the members of the Gulenist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), President Erdogan was in a hotel in Marmaris. According to his own statement, his brother in law called Erdogan on the phone and informed him about the coup initiated in the country. Erdogan couldn’t reach MIT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, nor the Chief of Defense Hulusi Akar by phone. Albeit difficult, he got through to the prime minister. In this process, Erdogan prepared to leave his hotel in Marmaris. According to the hotel owner Serkan Yazici's statement to Posta, this is what happened in those moments:

"Our President asked 'Serkan, what is the closest place we can go by sea?' since I know the region very well. I told him we could go to Dalaman but we had to pass by Aksaz Naval Base.'This can't be. Where else can we go?' he asked. I told him there are Greek Islands nearby and that I can take him there. Erdogan, who was very calm until that moment, lost his temper and said 'What will I do on the Greek Islands, for God's sake? I am asking you how to go to Istanbul.'"

In the hours the putschists were shedding blood in Istanbul and Ankara, President Erdogan refused the Greek Islands option and was planning his trip in Istanbul. According to Yazici, before Erdogan's chopper took off, Erdogan was informed of the streets and venues crowded by people in Istanbul.That was the first time a happy expression appeared on Erdogan's face after a long time. Erdogan said to Prime Minister Yildirim on the phone: "If they have tanks, we have faith. Resist. We will die if necessary." After hanging up, he turned to Serkan Yazici and said, "Serkan, you are witnessing history being made." Erdogan's chopper then took off to Dalaman with his wife Emine Erdogan, his daughter Esra Albayrak, his son-in-law Berat Albayrak and his three grandchildren on board. A critical dialogue started between the pilots and Erdogan just before leaving for Dalaman. Erdogan asked, "Tell me honestly, which side are you on?" They answered, "We are on your side and we are ready to die with you." The first step of the journey began thereafter. The helicopter went dark and flew low to avoid radars. It entered Dalaman.

Movements in Istanbul

During the hours Erdogan was going to Dalaman from Marmaris, the coup was shedding blood in Ankara and Istanbul while helping pro-coup soldiers with confiscated F-16 aircrafts and Sikorsky helicopters land on specific buildings. In the air force, the coup plotters were largely dominant. In addition, a group of 40 people consisting of coup members had moved to Erdogan's hotel with the intention to assassinate him. Erdoğan had left the hotel 15 minutes before it was bombed. Two police officers were killed during clashes between coup plotters and the police protecting the hotel. As a result of the intensive efforts of the Muğla governor, helicopters that couldn’t refuel were forced to leave the area. While President Erdogan took off to Istanbul from Dalaman in an ATA aircraft, F-16 aircrafts belonging to the coup plotters were roaming the skies of Istanbul and Ankara. Three presidential planes took off from Dalaman at the same time. While over Inegol, Erdogan, gave orders to land at Ataturk Airport.

While Erdogan's plane was in midair, F-16 aircraft and helicopters acting on behalf of the coup had already bombed certain places in Istanbul and Ankara. The parliament had also been bombed and badly damaged during this process. Ataturk and Sabiha Gokcen airports in Istanbul were seized by coup members. Erdogan's order to land in Istanbul despite all this, can only be explained by his character and faith. Using the term risk seems very lightweight with regard to the magnitude of the events taking place. Despite the risk of being hit at any moment on the way, Erdogan did not hesitate to take off for Istanbul. On a TV program, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, recounted the dialogue between Erdogan and the pilot before takeoff from Dalaman:

"Pilot says 'At the moment the airport lights were turned off. The tower does not permit. There's an incident.' Our President asks him 'Can you land at the airport using your own lights? Can you land even if they don't permit?' Pilot replies, 'Sir, we can but there are risks. They might have positioned vehicles on the ground. Also, there could be other risks.' To that, our President replies, 'You take a tour, examine, and land accordingly. How long can we stay in the air?' Pilot answers, 'We have a four-hour fuel.' Our President says 'Then you take measures accordingly' and orders him to land at the airport with the plane's own lights.

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