Southern California

USC Student Listens to Blasts on Phone With Parents in Turkey

"I was really, really scared," she said.

While the images of a military coup in Turkey flooded in on social media and were broadcast all over the world Friday, a University of Southern California student was frantic — her parents live in Istanbul.

Ipek Kahraman could hear the blasts over the phone while she was talking to her parents.

"I was really, really scared,"  Kahraman said. "I was calling them all the time. I said, 'Just don't hang up the phone, I want to hear everything.'"

Her parents were stuck on the Bosphorus Bridge on their way home from the Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

"The bridge was blocked by military," Kahraman said.

Kahraman watched from more than 7,000 miles away as footage came in of crowds chanting, banging their fists on military vehicles, and Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called on his supporters to protest Turkish troops trying to take over Istanbul and Turkey's capital, Ankara.

"Knowing that my family is there and that there's nothing I can do about it is just nerve-wracking and so frustrating," Kahraman said.

Kahraman said her parents eventually made it home safely.

But Kahraman wasn't able to return to be with her family. Her suitcase is packed and she was ready to go home to Istanbul for her brother's wedding, but she canceled her flight.

"I was planning to go home at 9:30 p.m., but my mom was like, 'There's still gunshots and crazy things happening at the airport.'"

"I don't want to be back in Turkey because I don't feel safe there anymore," she said.

Anyone who has not heard from a U.S. citizen who is in Turkey can write to:

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