They say Istanbul is a city that never sleeps. That is true. During the night and during the day you’ll hear several noises wether it be the traffic or the many predestrians on the streets.
On the night of July 15th 2016, having spent a long day out on a tour, we returned to our hotel room at 9. Exhausted, I looked outside the window and it seemed slightly quiet but still normal. I then fell asleep in my hotel room and the hotel was in Sisli – not far from Taksim Square.
An hour or two later, there were constant siren noises awakening everybody and loud bangs! At this point everyone was awake. The noises were very annoying and disturbing. It almost felt like there was a war going on. I turned on my phone to see hundereds of messages from friends and family around the U.K. who were asking if we are safe. Thankfully we were not outside and turned the TV on to see what was happening.
The noises were overwhelming. From the outside you could see many lights turned off. Hotels were no longer showing any colourful lighting. Almost darkness everywhere and the streets completely empty. Then all of a sudden, many cars going towards Taksim Square and police cars and marching pedestrians. It was a weird experience for a tourist. There were tanks outside. The whole experience was frightening. The level of noise was causing shaking and almost felt like an earthquake!
Following foreign office advice, we stayed in the next few days while many Turks went out to protest. During this period Istanbul was not the same. On the morning after the incident, the city who never sleeps, fell asleep. It was dead on the streets and I have never seen Istanbul so quiet and empty to the point where many did not turn up to work the next day! If I were in a situation like this again, I would do the same and follow foreign office advice. Thankfully the coup was not successful!