Local News

Triangle Turks hope attacks won't stop trips to homeland

Posted June 28, 2016 10:29 p.m. EDT
Updated June 28, 2016 11:11 p.m. EDT

— Word of an attack on the international terminal of Istanbul’s Ataturk airport that killed 36 people Tuesday spread rapidly through the Turkish community in the Triangle as people checked on friends and family with travel plans.

Sercan Wavuzarsian said he was nervous dropping his mother and sister off at Raleigh-Durham International Airport for a trip to Turkey just minutes after the explosion.

“My dad was calling me, my aunts and my uncles were calling me. They’re like ‘hey, is your family safe? Where are they now? We can’t reach them’,” he said.

Wavuzarsian, who grew up in Turkey, said his mother and sister have a connecting flight in France, but whether they’ll make it to Turkey as planned is not guaranteed.

“My father is already there waiting for them,” Wavuzarsian said. “The family there is nervous, so it’s kind of a different feeling.”

Within the local Turkish community, phone calls, Facebook posts and emails were sent rapidly during the day.

Representatives of the American Turkish Association of North Carolina said they have several hundred members within the Triangle area, many of whom have already arrived or plan to arrive in Turkey soon.

Can Kobaner said that he turned off radio coverage of the attacks when his daughter go into the car Tuesday afternoon because he didn’t want her to worry about an upcoming vacation.

“I don’t want her to hear that right now, because in one-and-a-half months we will also be going to Turkey for vacation and I don’t want her to be anxious and sad about it,” said Kobaner.

Turkey is known to many as the “home of two continents,” with parts in Europe and Asia. Kobaner believes the merging of eastern and western lifestyles creates a clash.

“So an Islamic country with a modernized twist…and somehow all these ISIS and the terrorist groups actually somehow get irritated about our country,” Kobaner said.

Members of the local Turkish community said it’s common for Turkish families to go and stay in Turkey for several weeks during the summer months. Many said they don’t want Tuesday’s incident to stop them from spending time with their loved ones in the future.