Anxiety in Istanbul After Series of Extremist Attacks | NBC Southern California
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Anxiety in Istanbul After Series of Extremist Attacks

Deadly attacks on public places are leaving people wondering whether they need to adjust their daily routines out of fear of a possible future attack

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    File photo: Relatives and friends mourn at a coffin during the funeral of Ayhan Arik, one of the 39 victims of the gun attack on the Reina, a popular night club in Istanbul, Turkey, January 1, 2017. At least two-thirds of the victims were foreigners.

    For Ethem Salli, life in what he still calls one of the greatest cities on earth has been pared back to little more than his commutes to and from work. 

    These days, with a string of extremist attacks targeting Istanbul still fresh in his memory, the 41-year-old environmental engineer doesn't venture outdoors much. 

    Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights

    [NATL] Flyer Protections on Overbooked Plane Flights

    NBC reports on the steps that flyers and travelers can take to protect themselves, and their vacation, from an overbooked flight.

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    "I am afraid just like everyone else around me. Because I don't feel the government is able to provide much security," Salli said Monday as he trudged through a snow-blanketed park near the Bosporus Strait. "Now everyone is mainly feeling that anything can happen to anyone anywhere. And so Turkey and Istanbul have become scary places." 

    It's not just Turkey and Istanbul. 

    From Berlin to Brussels, Florida to France, deadly attacks on public places are leaving citizens wondering whether they need to adjust their daily routines out of fear of a possible future attack. 

    In France, Parisian cafe society is largely back to normal after the Nov. 13, 2015, attacks targeting the city's nightlife, but many schools still limit outings for children, fearing they will become targets. 

    New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    [NATL] New Artificial Wombs Stimulates Mom for Preemies

    A new invention from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia may soon care for extremely premature babies. Artificial wombs stimulate an environment similar to a mother's womb - a method that researchers say is gentler than ventilators and incubators. 

    (Published Wednesday, April 26, 2017)

    Belgium remains on its second highest alert level, with soldiers and extra police now a routine sight on the streets. Belgians remain cautious about going out, and a national poll conducted by the country's traffic security authority found that a third changed their behavior last year because of attacks in Brussels, including avoiding venues like cinemas and shopping malls. 

    In Germany, where a truck attack on Berlin's Christmas market claimed 12 lives, people are warming to the kind of pervasive camera surveillance already found in other European countries but previously frowned upon there due to the country's 20th century history of totalitarian dictatorships. 

    In Istanbul, the deadly New Year's shooting spree by a gunman at a swanky nightclub on the banks of the Bosporus Strait struck at the city's wealthy elite and foreign visitors, but it also dealt yet another blow to the hopes and grand ambitions of this metropolis of more than 15 million that stands proudly at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. 

    The deadly attack on the Reina nightclub, claimed by the Islamic State group, left 39 dead. They were far from the only victims of a grim year in the historic city. In some of the other attacks, 10 German tourists were killed in a suicide bombing in the city's historic heart on Jan. 12, 2016, and dozens of people were killed at the city's main airport in June. 

    Teens Overcoming Opioids Seek Treatment in Recovery Schools

    [NATL] Teens Overcoming Opioid Dependence Seek Treatment in 'Recovery Schools'

    A new method for battling teenage opioid abuse comes not in the form of a new drug or counseling method, but in special "recovery schools" that emphasize communal support and positive peer pressure. 

    (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    The country's leaders have gone out of their way to urge frightened Turks not to succumb to fear. 

    "Our citizens should not change their daily flow of life," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said last week. "If they do so, they will serve the agenda of these terrorist organizations. Their aim is to slow life down, to stop it, to make people afraid." 

    People don't appear to be listening. On a recent day, it wasn't just heavy snow that was hurting trade at the cramped kiosk where the 21-year-old Rumeysa Acar sells everything from tobacco to gum, to razor blades and even sunglasses. The attacks, she said, are keeping people at home. 

    "We now think things like 'will a bomb go off here?'" she said. "Will something happen to us? Will we be able to make it home? We are afraid when we go out. It has hurt our psychology." 

    New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    [NATL] New Orleans to Remove Confederate-Era Monuments

    The city of New Orleans will remove four statues of Confederate-era events and figures in an effort to divorce itself from symbols that some see as problematic. The first statue, the Liberty Place Monument, was taken down early Monday morning. 

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    In addition to the demoralizing wave of terror attacks, the country is still hosting some three million migrants fleeing war in neighboring Syria and Iraq and the nation remains under a state of emergency and crackdown launched by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after a failed coup in July. Turkey's once-strong economy is suffering, as the Lira currency plunged to an all-time-low against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday. 

    Ferhat Kentel, a sociology professor at Istanbul's Sehir University, said that the multiple problems assailing Turkey are demoralizing the country. 

    "Tragedies have been prevalent in this country from the past. The latest incidents indicate that we are in a new traumatic process," Kentel told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "The attempted coup, what happened after the coup attempt, measures taken by the government and the state, the declaration of a state of emergency. All of this I think, combined with economic problems, wear down and corrode the souls of social groups as well as the individuals." 

    Erdogan also has sought to reassure the country. In his first public statement after the New Year's attack he told his shocked nation: "No one's lifestyle is under systematic threat in Turkey." 

    Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    [NATL-DFW] Driver Flees Traffic Stop, Dragging Police Officer

    Body camera footage shows a Florida police officer being dragged by a driver attempting to flee a traffic stop.

    Police said Frank Wetzel, 61, was pulled over after blowing through a stop sign. Police said he started fidgeting with something next to him, making the officer suspicious. He was allegedly later found with a machete and handgun.

    (Published Monday, April 24, 2017)

    But that's not how it feels for some. For Salli, the recent snow storm was welcome as it left Macka Democracy Park all deserted but for a few students tossing snowballs at one another. 

    "Of course. We try to be in less crowded places," he said. "Speaking for myself, my life has practically become going from work to home, from home to work, which isn't satisfying in a place like Istanbul. Because Istanbul is one of the greatest cities in the world."