Istanbul on edge after bomb blasts, says Kiwi resident

Ben Tornquist arrived in Istanbul a few days after tourists were killed outside the city's Blue Mosque. Photo / File
Ben Tornquist arrived in Istanbul a few days after tourists were killed outside the city's Blue Mosque. Photo / File

A Kiwi working in Turkey says Istanbul is a city on edge but life is going about as normal.

Journalist Ben Tornquist, who has been working with his news anchor wife Maleen for the past five months at an English-language television station, said he arrived in the city two days before 10 German tourists were killed outside the Blue Mosque.

But the imminent danger hit home after a bomb blast in shops a few hundred metres from their apartment.

"That attack was literally close to home. But once we were over the initial shock, we didn't let it stop us. We went out later in that afternoon almost as normal," he said.

Mr Tornquist said the latest airport attack had left friends and family concerned for the couple's safety.

"Our friends and family in London were asking if we were okay. I texted my mum in Palmerston North -- once again -- to say there had been an attack but everything was fine with us."

Security was heightened throughout the city, armed security guards were on street patrol and x-ray machines were at malls and transport hubs.

"You need to pass an x-ray machine when you enter a mall; bags are often checked when you get on the underground Metro. Armed security men stand vigilantly outside international schools in our neighbourhood," he said.

The spate of bombings had left the city on a knife-edge.

"My Turkish colleagues feel saddened by what they are seeing happen to this great city. But although this might seem hard to believe, life is going about as normal in other parts of the city. Unfortunately, attacks are becoming all too common."

Although he thought twice about living in the city he did not feel nervous going about his daily life.

"You have to remember we aren't alone here. Paris and Brussels have also suffered devastating attacks."

NZH

- NZ Herald

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