I have lived in Istanbul for three and a half years, alighting here when the Syrian war, on which I had been reporting, grew too chaotic and perilous. I fell in love with the city as it became my haven between work assignments to more fractious parts of the Middle East.

I thought I knew this country and its people. But a lot has happened in a week. I have heard gunfire on the streets of my bohemian neighbourhood and seen fighter jets almost grazing my rooftop. I have witnessed thousands chanting Allahu akhbar in the central square of Istanbul – unthinkable before.

Now I feel I don’t know Turkey at all. I am living in an alien country.


Hannah Lucinda Smith, journalist i The Sunday Times