The uprising in Turkey is hitting home for some New Englanders, including a Turkish restaurant owner in Somerville, Massachusetts, whose family was visiting Turkey during the violence.
Hyusein Akgun, who owns Istanbul’lu in Somerville, came to the United States from Turkey in 1984. His wife and two children left just days after the attack in Istanbul to visit relatives. They were still there Friday night when the military tried to seize power.
“I made phone calls for a while and it wouldn’t go through. I was trying to reach my kids and after that we started getting really scared,” Akgun said.
With his family unreachable, the fear started to set in. After a few hours he was able to get in touch with them and fortunately, they were all OK. They were also able to send him cell phone videos and pictures of what was happening in the streets of Turkey.
One picture shows his 18-year-old son holding the flag, following the Turkish President’s orders for his supporters to fill the streets. The videos show civilians taking over a military tank and cheering.
“They took it over so they cannot hurt people anymore. That’s the idea of it,” Akgun said.
It is knowledge Akgun has after experiencing a Turkish military coup firsthand. He was a soldier in the military during a coup in Turkey in 1980.
He said the latest coup, while violent and unfortunate, will ultimately lead to a better Turkey.
“It’s going to bring better results,” Akugun said. “Now that we know who the rotten people in the army are and everywhere else, they’re going to pick them out. Turkey will be much better than before.”