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Belfast mum describes 'very frightening' experience on holiday in Turkey during an attempted military coup

Laura Stirling described how some families were queuing at banks in panic as the coup unfolded.

By Rebecca Black

A Belfast mother on holiday in Turkey has described the night their summer break turned into chaos.

Laura Stirling (28) is currently on holiday with her husband Darren (29), daughter Amber (4) in the Marmaris area of south west Turkey.

They had been enjoying the sunshine for just over a week, and enjoying some evening shopping at a bazaar when the Turkish military attempted to take over the country, and staged a coup.

Laura said it was "very frightening", particularly when internet access was blocked, stopping her from being able to let the rest of her family at home know that they were ok.

Her mother-in-law was staying at a nearby hotel, and told her that some of the tourists were protesting and queuing at banks.

An estimated 161 people were killed and 1,440 wounded across Turkey during a night of fighting.

However the government took back control on Saturday.

Turkish military in attempted coup, prime minister says

Many of the worst affected areas included Istanbul in the far north of the country, and Ankar, while most tourist resorts are along the south west coast of Turkey - a significant distance away.

Laura described how the chaos unfolded in the resort where she was staying.

"There was a bit of commotion last night - we were shopping at the bazaar late and the shops starting closing, traffic was chaos, horns beeping we didn't know what was happening, then the internet access was shut off," she said.

"When we got back to the hotel we heard from other families what was happening, staff weren't saying very much so we headed to our room. 

"I heard a loud bang in the early hours followed by a low flying helicopter, i went down to reception but they said everything was ok and not to worry.

"We have not really been told very much, it all seems to be being kept quiet, hopefully everything is calm now!"

Laura and her family are due to fly home on Monday, and she said they have been left "in the dark" about what is happening.

"The place had been great until last night, it was very frightening, thankfully we could access Whats App to contact family at home then in the early hours we got full internet access back!

"Nothing has been said by any of the staff at the hotel so we are a little in the dark about what to expect next."

We are in charge, president says, as Turkey coup bid collapses with dozens dead 

Co Antrim man Matthew Milliken is also holidaying in Marmaris with his family, but said he wasn't too worried.

He said it is harder for their relatives at home, particularly when the Turkish Government blocked social media sites on Friday night, making it difficult to contact loved ones.

"The reps have told us to stay in the hotel complex until further notice but hasn't really changed the mood," he said.

"Nobody at the resort seems to bothered although last night a helicopter did fly low over head with a search light on."

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