Istanbul Airport Terror Attack Hits Close To Home

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-30 13:29:26-04

The terror attack in Istanbul hit close to home for people in Nashville.

Dr. Ali Sekmen, a Muslim Turkish man, has family in Turkey and said people there have been more angry than scared.

"We're not used to this," Dr. Sekmen said. "The Turks are very sad and angry."

Turkish officials said three assailants took a taxi to the Istanbul Ataturk Airport to shoot and set off explosives that killed 42 people and injured more than 230 others. 

The prime minister said the first gunman walked into the terminal, started shooting and set off a bomb.

During the chaos, the second attacker went upstairs to the departure level and set off a different explosive. 

Officials said the third attacker waited outside, and his explosives went off as people started running out of the airport. 

Dr. Sekmen learned about the news as his wife and two sons were about to board a direct flight to Istanbul from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. 
"We were very confused and didn't know what to do," Dr. Sekmen remembered. "The airlines told us the flight was not canceled which worried my son."
Surprisingly, his wife and sons did board the plane and made it safely. Still, it was a moment that worried the father.
"I was worried and angry for letting them go," Dr. Sekmen first thought. 
Dr. Sekmen, a Tennessee State University professor, has been taking students to Istanbul for a three-week program the past three years. 
They always have a great and safe, time but even the professor knows the recent attack will force him to look into next year's plan. 
"It shows that terrorism doesn't have a religion, a nationality, and any piece of humanity," Dr. Sekmen said.
A couple in Nashville just returned from a European cruise that included starting in Istanbul. Jeffery Humble and his husband were there for a one-year anniversary trip and said the people of Istanbul were wonderful. 
"We honestly did feel safe," Humble mentioned. "It was a shock when we learned about the news because the people were great."
Humble said the recent attack won't affect his plans to travel internationally in the future. 
"We told our families we're going to travel no matter, can't let them win," Humble said.