Michaela Merz

Bloody Saturday night in Istanbul

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Whenever my grown-up children travel abroad alone, I have an unpleasant feeling. I compensate my fear with repeated good advice to which my children probably don’t even listen any more.

My younger daughter went over the weekend to Istanbul to visit a friend. When I picked her up from the airport on Sunday, she seemed tired and paler than usually. I asked whether she had a good time and she nodded, I asked whether she had seen the Galata Tower and monosyllabically she said no. I was angry about her silence but did not say anything. Apparently something had happened. The silence became awkward.

Then she began to tell how they had sat in the flat of her friend on Saturday evening, a Turkish friend played the guitar and all three of them sang. After a short time the neighbours started to complain about the noise and in front of the house a group of residents built up, shouting something in Turkish which she did not understand.

The Turkish friend wanted to settle it and quickly went outside in order to talk to the people. The girls watched him from the window and saw how the discussions became more and more agitated. And suddenly someone pulled a knife and stabbed the friend. Once, twice and again. The Turkish friend sank to the ground and his red blood spread over his body. My daughter’s friend called the ambulance and the police and the girls went to him, since it seemed that the people standing around him wanted to continue hitting him.

He was responsive but everywhere was all that blood and it took forever until the ambulance arrived.

Emergency rooms probably are oppressive anywhere in the world; the one at hand was loud, crowded and terrifying. My daughter did not understand anything and she was very much afraid that the Turkish friend would die.

He did not have any life threatening or serious injuries. The three stabs were bad but the knife had not reached any organs. He was lucky that things did not turn out worse. The remaining time from Saturday evening until the departure of her flight home my daughter was like in trance.

I wanted to know why she had not called me from the hospital. She pursued the same philosophy as I did with my mother when I was young. Good news immediately, bad ones only then when they are not as bad any more.

My daughter had called her older sister from Istanbul, they did not want to alarm me because they knew that I would have jumped into the next plane and flown to Istanbul.

I know that everything is fine again. The friend is at home and he is well again. Apart from a few scars nothing remains, thank God. But anytime my children are travelling alone I will feel miserable because I know they won’t call, even if it is very bad.

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