A young Dungannon couple who were in the middle of a holiday in Turkey when a military uprising against the government took place, said they have been left “traumatised for life”.
Shannon McIntyre and her boyfriend Declan Morgan said they first knew something was wrong when shops started to close at the Grand Bazaar market they were visiting in Marmaris and people started queuing at bank machines.
But back at the hotel, the young couple said weren’t able to find out what was going on as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube had been shut down and the news was in Turkish.
“There was lots of people panicking,” Shannon told the Times.
“Then we met up with a woman and her three daughters and went to a bar which was opened up beside the hotel. We sat there and got the TV to English to see what was actually happening, then about 20 minutes into that helicopters arrived. We saw two which were very low with the camouflage on the side. Automatically I knew it was military.
“They kept circling,” she continued, “and next thing we heard a machine gun coming from the helicopter and everyone in the bar running every road looking for cover under tables behind restaurant.
“Obviously there was people in panic as we didn’t know where the helicopters were, but we could hear they were shooting towards the İçmeler direction.”
After that Shannon said everyone ran back to the hotel, where she said staff told everyone to go and hide in their rooms.
“Me, my boyfriend and a woman and her three daughters all went to our room and sat there watching the news, hoping it was all over.”
But that wasn’t to be the case, as Declan heard “what sounded like gun shots coming from around the corner” she explained.
“We didn’t get to sleep to about 8am the next morning.”
Throughout the night in her area, Shannon said five police officers were shot, and one killed.
She also said others had reported grenades going off as the military descended from helicopters into the streets.
Just half way through their two week holiday, Shannon and Declan said if they had the choice they would come home. But changes to their flights would cost them £450 each.
“Thomas cook is saying everything is okay for us to continue our holiday,” Shannon explained. “I was panicking, but we feel ok at the minute (and) staff at the hotel have been amazing keeping everyone safe.