Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Kiwi journalist in Turkey terrified by roar of military planes during coup

A Kiwi journalist living in Istanbul says apart from feeling terrified by the "sonic roars" of military planes she is not afraid of the attempted coup in Turkey.

The journalist, who the Herald agreed not to name for political reasons, has been holed up in her Istanbul apartment for hours while military planes roar overhead.

She moved to Turkey three and a half years ago, shortly after the Gezi Park protests.

In the lead-up to the coup military presence in the city increased, but it still took people by surprise, she said.

"It didn't hit home until suddenly there were all these sonic sounds above me and you think sh** it's a bomb - but what it was military aircraft whizzing past.

"I went out to my balcony and I couldn't actually see them. It's like they have their lights off - it was completely terrifying," she said.

Despite feeling frightened by the planes, overall the woman said the coup had not rattled her too much.

"The whole atmosphere this week has been a bit strange.

"It has been [serious] the whole year really and especially after the Ataturk [airport terrorist] bombing. [But] it's really ramped up again this week."

Police presence on the metro had increased this morning, before the coup happened, but at first she didn't think anything of it.

"I went to a movie after work and after I came out of the movie, there was an odd atmosphere in the street and all these helicopters above and I said to the shop owners what's going on. They said 'oh it's just terrorism stuff'.

"Then in bars and restaurants there were lots of breaking new items - and people were saying it's an attempted coup."

No one was taking the situation seriously, including her, until she received a message from a friend saying there was a "f***ing coup going on."

For two hours earlier tonight local time, call to prayer sounded in the street, a rallying cry from the Government to President Tayyip Erdogan's supporters.

"All these mosques were rallying up the people - my neighbours were heading out they're real Erdogan supporters.

"A lot of [the President's supporters] are real thugs so I hate to think what's going on down there," she said.

The woman said there was scepticism among some of her friends in Turkey that the coup was staged to ramp up support for the President and his government.

"Lots of my friends and I have been texting each other - it just feels so fake. Why hasn't any generals spoken up. It doesn't feel very organised."

Even if the coup was real, it had come "completely out of left field," she said.

"No one saw this coming, this is the weird thing. It's all very strange timing."

While she didn't think the coup would be successful, given Turkey's long history of failed coups, part of her hoped it might be.

"Part of me thinks it's got to work - the guy's got to go. He's dividing the country.

"Half the population is secular and they don't want this Islamic policy and they don't want this creeping fascism.

"So many people are fed up."

For now, the streets were calm, she said, but she didn't know what she would wake up to tomorrow.

"Everything in the world is going crazy at the moment, first Brexit and now this."

- NZ Herald

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