As tanks and protesters flood the streets of Istanbul and Ankara, the University of Washington is attempting to reach three students and one faculty member in the country.
Amid the attempted military coup in Turkey, the University of Washington has confirmed the safety of one of three students in the area.
One UW faculty member is in the area as well, said Victor Balta, director of UW’s Office of News and Information. As of early Friday evening, the university has heard from one student, but has not successfully contacted the other students or the faculty member. The three students are all conducting field research together, he said.
Balta declined to give further information about the students’ and faculty member’s identities and the purpose of their research, citing safety concerns.
Upheaval in Turkey
- Turkish military launches coup against government
- Turkey is a crucial — and complicated — U.S. ally
- Turkish President Erdogan: Coup supporters “will pay a heavy price” for treason
- Cleric blamed for Turkey coup attempt lives in Pennsylvania
- President Obama: All parties in Turkey should support Erdogan government
- Key points from the Turkish military coup
As the situation in Turkey unfolds, members of Turkish communities near Seattle and throughout Washington are contacting family members and friends in the country for updates.
“Everybody is out in the square. It looks like it’s going to be a civil war,” Sevgi Baran, of Northgate, said. “I’m wishing the best for my beautiful country.”
Reşat Kasaba, director of the UW’s Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, said it seems the Turkish public is split down the middle, with half supporting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and half backing his opposers.
“The president is becoming increasingly authoritarian, and there is a lot of resentment for that,” he said. “Still, there are maybe 40 or 50 percent that are behind him.”
Kasaba said he has confirmed the safety of his family members in Turkey.
“I’m very worried,” he said. “If the coup succeeds, Turkey will be isolated. That has a lot of complications for U.S. foreign policy.”