Our terrifying ordeal during Turkey coup!

We arrived in Turkey at Dalaman airport, and took the transfer drive to Marmaris of about 2 hours duration. This found us arriving at the ‘Casa de Maris” Hotel in the early hours of the morning, at around 01:00 am local time on Saturday 16th July 2016.

The scene that met us from the balcony of our room was quite confused! People were gathered in small groups, on several street corners, with a larger group of around 200 people (that were within our field of view), about 500 yards away in a square, which was facing our hotel room located at the west side of the hotel. The group were chanting and more were joining the crowd from adjacent streets. This suggested something serious was afoot and it was then we received a message from my son Stephen, that we had landed at the same time as a Military Coup was in progress. Not being sure what the status of this situation could be, we tuned our TV into any News we could find on the subject. This came courtesy of Al Jazeera in English.

Yvonne concentrated upon the news reports, whilst I remained on the balcony. The fact that news reports were focusing upon dramatic events unfolding in the East of the country, made it all the more surprising for us, when a large and very noisy Military Helicopter was heard, circling around our Hotel. Looking on, I wondered if it may be for security purposes, as it seemed to hover in one place at a time, for prolonged periods. Its pattern of movement, then suggested that it may actually be searching for somebody, similar indeed, to the regular and sequential movements of a Police Helicopter.

The noise from the Helicopter was immense and it was very disturbing to see it following people, whilst at the same time kicking up great amounts of soil, dust and debris. This helicopter was then joined by another very large and similar helicopter, which flew in from the East and seemed to hover low, or land on the beachfront. I perceived it to be dropping troops off, as at this point as many as 20 to 30 Soldiers appeared and ran through the streets amongst the fleeing and dispersing crowds. We were later informed by locals that three helicopters in total, had been seen around our hotel.

I returned to the room to study the News reports and Yvonne viewed further activities from the Balcony. Yvonne witnessed a man running into the hotel (the entrance being underneath our glass balcony) and shortly after, two men ran out of the Hotel, looked up at the helicopter and then held their hands up in submission. Yvonne then heard shots from the helicopter and the men scrambled to the floor and crawled away on their stomachs in panic. After this event, a plain black car appeared and parked up to the North West of the Hotel, and four men dressed in dark or black clothing, jumped out and ran separate ways. The men adopted a pistol-gripping approach, however the weapons they held were of a strange design, being long barrelled and almost luminous. Yvonne remarked to me on this, as events unfolded and it was at this moment I shouted her to leave the balcony. I sensed that matters were taking a dramatic turn and after she entered the room, we then heard ‘pops’ of small arms fire.

Unsure what to do next we laid on the bed and, with the news playing in the background and saying the Coup had failed and normal order was restored, we considered what to do next. As we discussed the contradictions of the news reports versus our own witnessing of events, I heard a loud bang and crack and instinctively knew some heavier fire, had been deployed against the glass frontage of our hotel room. I quickly rolled Yvonne to the floor, at the bedside, furthest from the window and jumped on top of her, covering both of us with the mattress and pillows as best I could. It was only afterwards that we realised, how fortunate our quick reactions had been, as the glass balcony was ripped apart and the patio doors were riddled with bullet holes at body level. This and the ensuing hail of heavy fire over what seemed like an eternity, was the scariest moment of the whole eight-hours, to which we were under siege. It was also the point when Yvonne called her daughter to say her goodbyes and I sent a simple message to my son, to look after his sisters.

There was a lull in the fighting, after that awful and poignant moment. Sobs and cries filled the corridor and Yvonne’s Daughter relayed the news from her boyfriend, who had phoned the Foreign Office whilst she was talking with her mother, with the FO advising us to keep ourselves hidden and not to make a sound. During this lull, I sneaked a peak through the spy hole in the hotel door and saw people laying in the corridor, women and children, frightened and confused. This was one of the most heart rending and desperate scenes I have probably ever witnessed.

As we considered what to do, and debated whether to join the refugees camped outside our door, the whole place erupted again. The machine gun fire recommenced outside of our apartment balcony, but this time it was accompanied by small arms fire from within the hotel corridor itself. Rekindling the horror of the situation, myself and Yvonne automatically fell into our makeshift hiding place again, beside the bed. This was when we both expected our door to be blasted open and we either be shot or taken as hostage. That was also when I decided to record the sounds of gunfire, thinking, If we are going to die, then I am going to catalogue the event such that others should know how we met our end. Whilst on reflection, the recording did not capture the ferocity of the original onslaught. It did at least provide a testimony to the firing of weapons both inside and outside our hotel, with the sounds of panic from innocent victims, as a backdrop throughout. We later learned that Soldiers had entered our hotel through the rear of the property, allegedly in order to storm an adjacent hotel to the West of ours, with an intention to kill the Turkish President. Whilst this may be a possible explanation, the results of the firefight, was more suggestive of the President being in our hotel, if not an occupant of our room even, given the damage inflicted upon it!

After that second major incursion, all went quiet again. The anticipated storming of our room did not happen. A period of some hours elapsed, throughout which there were several bangs and random cries. Shouting, as heavy footsteps fell upon the corridor and dragging sounds Above and around us. We again, debated our position and the time then was about 07:30 am. Creeping stealthily to look through the spy hole in our door, we both saw a man resting with his back upon it. A rough looking man dressed in black talking to others that we could not see! This spooked us badly, as this man fitted the description of one of those seen by Yvonne earlier, with the strange firearms. In the absence of any apparent help or rescue, or any reassurances or support from hotel staff, we decided to return to the floor and maintain our position of silence. Visiting the spy hole a couple of times more, during the ensuing hour and a half, it was around 08:45am when I finally noticed there were children and parents daring to venture out, taking photographs of the hotel damage with their mobile phones. I did not see any westerners, but we decided if children had surfaced, then perhaps it would be safe to leave the room. As one last ‘test’ I decided to call reception. Both myself and Yvonne took time out to discuss and collectively agree to this option, fully aware that if the reception phone was manned by anyone, other than a member of the hotel staff, then we were potentially giving away our position to the hostile force. What happened next surprised us. A male receptionist announced calmly, that ‘breakfast would be served as usual, in the hotel restaurant’!

Leaving our room, we were encouraged by the restaurant manager (Who was apparently lodged next door to us) to take some tea, with the same line that ‘breakfast was being served as usual, in the hotel restaurant’! Bemused but shaken, we acceded to the request, but oh my goodness, we could not for the life of us understand how anyone could eat after such a traumatic night! What met us in the restaurant, did little to restore our faith in human nature, as an English couple, when approached by us on the night’s drama, announced that they had “heard something but just turned their ipad up louder”. This was surreal!

This apathetic mood was reflected throughout the staff of the hotel. They neither admitted to, nor showed, any acknowledgement of the fact, that the hotel resembled a building in a war zone. Merely reinforcing a statement, applied as a mantra collectively by all Turkish people thereafter (Staff and Public), that “everything would be OK now”. It was quite clear as time went on, that the Turkish people relied so heavily upon tourism for their respective livelihoods, that they would have to perpetuate such rhetoric if their future in tourism was to be maintained. Whilst it seemed on the surface, that the public supported a coup, the reality of the situation was that they were clearly and simply ‘relying’ upon tourism, and feared that ‘rocking any political boat’ would be enough to finish many of them. It also emerged from discussions with locals, that there was a disparity between the interests of the Police Force, the Armed Forces and the Government. This underlying instability, being enough to convince us at least, that we needed to vacate the Country as quickly as possible, before the fragile infrastructure crumbled further. Until such situation was resolved, we would certainly not even consider a return to Turkey.

On presenting ourselves to reception, we were advised that no taxi would come near the hotel, due to the fighting of the early hours. We were also advised that there were road blocks throughout the route, between the hotel and Dalaman Airport, which was around two hours drive away. On discussing options with a package tour representative, we were further advised that Marmaris Airport was in ‘Lockdown’ and therefore, there would be no flights leaving that day. In between enquiring with locals about the Ferry and possible boat trips to Rhodes, (to reach the relative security of Europe) and exploring other travel options, it became clear that the staff of the hotel were distancing themselves from us. The reason for this became evident, when a Brit explained that our room had been shot up the worst and the hotel staff had seemingly thought, that we should not have survived such an onslaught. That explained why the staff of the hotel looked at us as if we were ghosts, when we emerged from our room, but it does not explain why they offered no courtesy or assistance to us thereafter. In fact when challenged on this, more than one hotel representative said they thought we had checked out. This was a strange thing to suggest, when we had only just checked in, during the early hours of that morning? We think they expected us to have perished when our room was so badly shot out and it also seemed that, for all they cared, our bodies should just be left for the police to deal with.

On the basis of the general apathy of the hotel staff and Turkish people, towards us, we would advise anybody thinking of going to Turkey or who has a holiday planned, to think again. If such a trip were to be undertaken and problems encountered locally, then they would be on their own. Nobody would give them assistance and certainly, nobody would help them escape any trouble. We were only able to flee Turkey ourselves, by arranging the booking of any available flights from Marmaris via the UK through my friend and business partner, and then only after convincing a taxi driver to take us to the airport, using his skills as such, to negotiate the various Police checkpoints and roadblocks, on the way. Arriving back in the UK to London Stansted Airport and the adjacent Radisson Blu Hotel, was a liberating experience and only then could we relax and unburden ourselves of the trauma we had encountered from the trip.

What surprises us, having been through this ordeal, is that the Foreign Office, and travel companies, still maintain that Turkey is safe enough for Holidays. It horrifies us that families are still being encouraged to enter this Country given its present instabilities. Even now, news reports suggest the troubles are not over, with more protests to come, yet in the same sentence, those reporters also irresponsibly specify that it is ‘business as usual’ For holidays. It is unimaginable to think that one should have to entertain, the added responsibility of Children, if attempting to protect them during a fire-fight and then later flee the Country. We made this point, through our attendance on ‘This Morning’ as guests of Eamon Holmes and Ruth Langsford but with little Immediate effect. Whilst we understand that it is difficult, under the impartiality rules of media coverage, to negotiate an unbiased line of enquiry with such matters. I think Eamon and Ruth and their support team managed to find and maintain the balance rather well. However, the foreign travel representative who appeared on the show via satellite, whom incidentally was notably safe in Canada many miles away, did not do himself any favours with his easy comments, that played down the seriousness of the situation in turkey. The point I guess is that we (myself and Yvonne) can speak freely and honestly on a matter of experience, whereas such a representative must bow to his masters and is forced to toe a political line, thereby misleading others and not being true to himself! People considering travel to Turkey, must be made aware of the hazards that could face them and make an appropriate risk assessment for themselves, as those that are responsible for convincing them to go to Turkey, clearly only have their own interests at heart.

UPDATE:

We have heard that there are other facebook accounts from a man, who witnessed shootings at our hotel, from a hotel opposite. Apparently he was also under gunfire in his room, terrified and stuck with a family that included children. We pray for his safe return home and encourage him to publicise his plight, as we have, in order to raise awareness and protect others.

The efforts of the “This Morning” show on ITV, has raised awareness of the public to such an extent, that Marmaris is now also mentioned in news reports. Well done to them.

Afterthought

There are some inconsistencies that have tumbled through my mind and settled at the forefront of my thinking, since the above events. Sub conscious rationalisation has fermented and has left me to wonder about a few things. For example, why did people take to the streets to support a president, whose personal vision for the Country was contrary to their own lifestyle ideals, threatening their ‘valuable’ tourism even, in the case of our story? Also, how did a military faction (that, in the aftermath, seems to account for many growing thousands of high ranking government and military officials), get things so wrong? Personally, and on reflection, I do not believe the suggested ‘raison d’etre’ for the coup, as put forward by the President. In my personal opinion, it is quite feasible that the President pre-empted the Coup and brought his own version forward, as a countermeasure. This turning the coup into his own ”coup de grace” against democracy. Misleading the people and throwing them blindly against the concept of martial law, allowed him opportunity to ’round up the usual suspects’, then eliminate these threats to him, through the realities of disengaging from the Human Rights Act. This also leaving him free to torture captives into false declarations of guilt for themselves and other (even potential) enemies, on a scale never known since medieval times and that of the Spanish inquisition! The President himself then, is the threat in all of this. I just hope the good people of Turkey (if not the powers of the whole world) realise the fact, or concede at least the potential for the fact, before the President has finished ‘removing their teeth’ and dismantled any effective opposition in the favour of stability and democracy!

OTHER LINKS (proven at date of publication):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/16/petrified-50000-british-tourists-in-turkey-during-coup-violence/

http://www.gazettelive.co.uk/news/teesside-news/turkish-coup-holiday-hell-we-11628810

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1459147/scores-of-brits-are-stranded-in-turkey-airports/

Copyright 2016. Alan Carter and Yvonne Wickes of Middlesbrough TS8. All rights reserved.

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Little things …

When we first met
I was down and low
With no zest for life
No get up and go

A survivor at best,
I struggled each day
No future horizons
And darkness held sway

Saddened and lonely
Uncertain and blue
My life lacked direction
And focus its true

Then a small light appeared
Sparked by kind words
Supported by actions
That cut through my curse

Those deeds were from you
And as small as they seem
They brought me great hope
And rebuilt self esteem

You probably know not
The influence you had
In making someone happy
That was previously sad

But its there nonetheless
And I am no longer down
I thank you so much
For a life turned around

AlanC

Written on behalf of a previously depressed person wishing to express their gratitude to someone, who incrementally improved their life through little random acts of kindness that collectively made a difference. What you may deem ‘Little Things’ can be a big deal to those living in the gloom of depression. I hope this brings inspiration…

Copyright Alan Carter and astralunity.com

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Where do they go?

Where do they go?

They must go somewhere mustn’t they?
Otherwise how can they send us messages?
The messages can’t come from nowhere!
They go into the light.
What is that? The light I mean.
I Don’t know. But its round or oval shaped.
Energy or a portal I guess.
Its got a golden, pulsating glow.
Where is it then? Its position alters.
It hovers, usually in the corner of a room.
It gets bigger when someone is near death.
You can see shapes in it. People from the past!
Spirits! The spirits look out at us.
Its glow is bright… Warm!
They come and go from it too!
Grey, gold, white, blue, silver forms.
But why? Not sure but it looks busy.
Nurse type spirits come out.
They busy themselves around the dying loved one.
Can the loved one see it?
When they are near the end maybe.
So where do the messages come from?
The vibrations and on the senses.
Is it just imagination? No there are sensations.
Seeing, smelling, hearing sounds, feelings.
Also prickles, pins and needles, tingles, like toxic shock,
When they are around and come close.
Does it/they all come from the orb?
No. Thats just for dying people.
The Spirits just appear.
But how can that be? Not sure,
Must be a different energy.
The orb is one thing and spirit messengers another.
Why can’t we all see them?
We all can, if we learn the way.
Hmmm. Does it take long?
There is no time limit.
Just needs calmness of mind and body.
A willingness to just accept.
Accept what?
Knowledge or rather, a knowing.
Tapping of an inner wisdom.
Whatever is above, or on another plane of vibration,
Also connects to the light within us all.
What is the light within?
You will see it if you shut your eyes,
Feel it if you open your senses.
Understand it if you let go of your physical bonds.
I sense something when I do all that.
Then that is where they go!

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Divorced – Do You Miss Me?

This is a question asked only days ago in an email from my ex-wife. I could not, or maybe did not, want to answer it straight away, as I was on business in China when I received it. However, it prompted me to think about the subject and develop some thoughts which are now published in the ‘Articles’ section of the astral website. I hope that you find the piece of interest if you have faced similar circumstances in your life.

Love and Peace be with you…
AlanC

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Last Rites Through Prayer…

As my dear friend Bill faces transition, I joined him in a short prayer service delivering a special prayer which is posted below:

Lord hear our prayer
Brought to you in hope and faith and love.
We are gathered here in front of you,
United at the doorway of your light.

As the way into your kingdom
Opens up for our friend Bill,
Let him not have cause to be afraid.
For he kneels before you, penitent in his faith oh Lord.

Lord, let Bill’s heart and mind be unburdened,
as he has made his peace on earth.
In preparation for his journey,
When he will be guided into your light.

Material possessions mean nothing now,
And Bill will not mourn their loss.
For his needs will be met within you,
And the love that you surround him with hereafter.

Bill asks that those loved ones left behind,
Receive your strength and courage.
That they may be calm during the storm ahead,
As grief takes its hold, as it must, for a time.

Let those who have known Bill,
Remember him with fondness.
Looking back upon those good memories they share,
and strengthening their bond

Lord, Bill would ask that you kindly allow him,
to gift his loved ones with his spiritual  presence at times,
To bring them your grace and mercy,
when they need upliftment in their lives.

We ask this in thy name oh Lord, which is love and peace and light.

Amen

Copyright astralunity.com and Alan Carter and posted with permission of Bill himself.

The above prayer brought Bill much comfort (Bill described it as “Beautiful”). You could adapt the prayer for your own loved one(s) by changing the name.

Love and Peace AlanC x

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Moving on…

We all must learn that life is about loving or at least respecting each other, learning from the diversity of our relationships and the problems that we encounter on the way, and broadening our general experiences of life, such as to acquire wisdom that may then be passed on to guide others.

If we cannot do this, then we return to our spiritual home with empty hearts and a suitcase full of stories that refer only to missed opportunities. We must suffer as part of this process, but equally we must also accept that it is quite correct to embrace the good moments along with those bad experiences, in order to maintain Karmic balance.

Think and act positively toward others and this will bring love and light into your life. Engage with negativity and the reverse will apply. If then, we do indeed become a product of what we think, then let our thoughts go out around the World, to consider and pray for all those souls that are suffering great pain, trauma and loss. You may ask, How does this seemingly negative focus help us?

By allowing ourselves the opportunity to recognise and relate to the adversity and burdens of others, we feed our natural empathic feelings and, through that, allow our spiritual growth to prosper. From darkness let there be light and so, let a new level of enlightened humanity be born into this World.

Love and Peace

AlanC x

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Is Religion becoming an outdated concept?

Religion can be futile!

When a nutcase, who cares nothing about human life, can suddenly declare a ‘Caliphate’, call himself the successor of a ‘Holy Prophet’ (amidst ordering the death of many thousands), and at the same time declare himself ‘Commander of the Faithful’, then how can this be considered credible in any way whatsoever?

Also, where are the other religions of the World, that should be unified in condemnation?

Sitting on the fence, is where they are, and so we see the same weaknesses that have allowed a case for War, Death and needless Suffering, to proliferate, the World over and time after time!

Meanwhile. In a place and time of sense, there are some Churches working together to give air time and also ‘Mass’ time, to a pilgrimmage for rain in Qala, Malta. Invoking not just Christian prayer, but Muslim too!

The fact is, that these churches are leading by example. Working and praying together for a common aim of good and peace.

There is no room for religion as a means to its own ends. Religion, like Politics, must be representative of its people and their societal needs. In fact, it should go further, and recognise the sanctity of life and its interactions with life energies in all forms!

The World is changing, and if religions do not change with it, then they will only serve to be manipulated and ultimately reinforce the abuse, arising from the wants and expectations of the few!

Choosing the correct spiritual path, does not mean that one must follow archaic doctrines, that historically serve only those in Power, often at the expense of individual ethnicity or belief. Promoting discrimination of Gender, Race or Creed.

Men and Women are equal, with a shared responsibility for looking after our planet and also, one another! If your religion does not say this, then it is shamefully out of date and unenlightened as to the modern spiritual path.

Demand change now, before a dark veil draws over the earth and envelopes all of us.

Love and Peace
Alan C

Posted in Philosophy | 2 Comments

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…

At this Christian festive time, I should just like to wish all the peoples of the World a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

‘Merry’ in the sense that we should all rejoice, in the fact the we have the potential to Love and Care for each other as spiritually connected individuals, regardless of race or religious beliefs!

‘Happy’ in the knowledge that we are loved by one universal and life-giving force, who will ultimately be there for us, if we follow the basic rules of allowing Love and Respect to prevail toward each other, in order that we should live with other life energies in Peace and Harmony.

Namaste.

AlanC x

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Global Spiritual Unity…

With atrocities all around the World in the name of terrorism and counter terrorism, one is left to wonder if humankind, will ever get it right!

The solution is far more complex than dropping a few bombs on terror groups, or sending the odd drone to do some clinical ‘removal’ of terrorist representatives. Similarly, terrorists will never be able to justify pointless killing of the innocent!

The true solution can probably never be achieved as the World is today and, with the above circle of events caught in a never ending loop!

Yes it would be ‘convenient’ if there was a dwindling source of terrorists to worry about. If they all wore a suicide vest and blew themselves up, then surely, eventually, the problem would just resolve itself!

Sadly, whilst there are people who succumb to the rhetoric and brainwashing tactics of others, then there will always be a fresh supply of ‘would-be’ martyrs. Ready to take innocent lives in the name of whatever cause.

The real solution lies in tackling issues in the global community, that humankind has created as part of its natural evolution. Today there are too many self interests to be protected in the name of maintaining ‘power’ and ‘control’.

Ask yourself, what would you do differently if you were starting again now…

Remove poverty by sharing the worlds food and water resources proportionally between nations?
Ensure equable treatment of other fellow human beings, equal opportunities, equal rights, equal pay?
Remove World boundaries?
Adopt one common language?
Implement a common trade system between all Countries?
Have all individuals pay into a World Social fund for global welfare?
Ensure people understand their spiritual responsibilities that extend well beyond a short physical life on Earth?

Unfortunately the enlightened solution above, will never become a reality, whilst there is self interest in the name of ’National Interest’ and this applies throughout the World.

The solution then?

The World must think and act as one co-ordinated body and that does not mean a ‘G20′, Independent states, or even Independent Countries. Write as many treaties as you like and it will still result in a demarcation between interests. Nobody owns a ‘Country’ but we all share a World! To think spiritually, requires a formal recognition that the World belongs to all people and accept too, that everyone is linked both spiritually and by virtue of common existence and humanity. It is not what you are or what you own… it is what you do for others, deferring to doing the right thing and not the wrong, that matters!

This is a big ask for World Leaders and currently they are not up to the challenge! So until then we must accept that terrorism is a fact of life. A by-product of the inadequacies of the current World Order. Let us hope and pray, that one day the population of the World awakens and realises the error of its ways.

I am proud to be a citizen of the World, united in spirit with my fellow human beings and bound (by the inherent knowledge of what is right and wrong), to do the correct thing by my counterparts, looking after and caring for them and the natural world around us. Why not purge your own thoughts and start again on the right path?

It is never too late to make a start!

Amen!

AlanC

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Ever Near…

Today I saw an Angel
Bringing Love from Them to You
It was crouching by your bedside
I knew just what to do
 
I told you it was there for you
The Energy so clear
Reaching out your hand to feel it
You sensed your loved ones near
 
They feel your pain, so they come close
Oh, if only you could see
A veil between, but nonetheless
Around us they can be
 
“Fear not” they say, “the life you lead
Nor feel lonely or unsure
Guidance comes from up above
With Love and Light so pure
 
Walk the path and know your goals
Set your life-bar high
Then walk in Faith, and Hope, and Love
And you can touch the sky
 
Know that we are here for you
In every step you take
And when you falter on the way
Learn from mistakes you make
 
Yes, we could make change, its true
But that  would break a rule
 Just know that when your time has come
We will pick you up from School.”
 
Love and Peace
Alan x
Posted in Poetry and Prayer | 1 Comment