Holidaymaker tells of horror during coup

A Scarborough man has spoken of the terrifying moment a military coup broke out while he was on holiday in Turkey.

Mike Barker said he had “never been so scared in his life” when the attempted takeover of the country broke out with tanks, helicopters and gunfire while he was in Marmaris.

Mike Barker reflects on his recent experience in Turkey during the attempted coup. pic Richard Ponter 163111d

Mike Barker reflects on his recent experience in Turkey during the attempted coup. pic Richard Ponter 163111d

He was on holiday with fiancée Alex Price and two friends when they were at a bar and heard gunshots and screams as rebel soldiers attempted to capture the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Mr Barker said: “Everything was fine until about 11.30pm one night when people started running down the street.

“A tank came from nowhere but was blocked by people on the streets. Nobody could sleep the helicopters were flying so low, but nobody could spot them until they fired as there were no lights on the helicopters.”

Overnight they could hear the chaos outside as they tried to sleep in their hotel, the Ideal Pearl. Roads were blocked and Mike feared they wouldn’t have been able to come home.

“I think if the president hadn’t made the statement he did, I don’t think we would have been able to leave,” said Mr Barker, of Cambridge Street, Scarborough.

According to reports in the Turkish media, the president was told rebel troops were heading for his villa in the Marmaris resort to either kill him or take him prisoner.

Mr Barker and Alex, who was on her first holiday abroad, were told to take cover in their hotel and stay there. With social media shut down, Mr Barker struggled to get in touch with family back home.

The following morning he took to Facebook and posted: “Turns out the president’s hotel in Marmaris got struck last night - wonder how that didn’t make the news but he had already jetted off. Mayhem last night, never been so scared in my life.”

Now home safe, Mr Barker has been reading reports of the incident stating that the president is believed to have been rushed by car to the nearest airport.

“We saw a black 4x4 Range Rover. I bet that was the president speeding off,” added the 25-year-old, “This 4x4 came speeding past the bar towards mountains through the back roads on the wrong side of the road.”

The couple had met up with friends Leigh and Caroline Watson and were sat at a bar, called the Cosy Corner, when the mayhem broke out.

Gunshots and blasts filled the streets, helicopters could be heard overhead and Mr Barker was told three people were killed in Marmaris town centre.

On their way back, blocked roads had reopend and their flight, with Thomas Cook, had not been cancelled flying from Dalaman Airport.

But they were delayed by four hours and for 20 minutes all of the lights were switched off.

“There was no emergency lighting, everything was black even the runway. It lasted for about 20 minutes, there were so many people screaming,” added Mr Barker. “It was absolute mayhem. I’m so glad to be back.”

Since the failed coup on Friday, more than 50,000 people have been rounded up, sacked or suspended from their jobs by Turkey’s government.