Police brief taxi drivers on terror threats after Istanbul airport attack
ISTANBUL – Doğan News AgencyTurkish police have begun briefing taxi drivers on how to recognize suspicious behavior after investigations revealed the perpetrators of the June 28 attack at Istanbul Atatürk Airport traveled to the scene via a taxi while wearing winter jackets on a warm summer day.
“That taxi driver [who transported the attackers] also should have been more vigilant, because they [the attackers] took a taxi from Fatih [a district in Istanbul] and all three were wearing jackets in this hot weather,” the head of the Atatürk Airport Taxi-drivers Association, Fahrettin Can, said while providing information on the new training offered to drivers under the roof of Istanbul’s main airport.
According to information provided by Can, police units started training taxi drivers on how to recognize suspicious behavior or potential perpetrators. Anti-terror officials also encouraged drivers to report suspicious activities and refrain from timidity.
In return, the drivers expressed their observations on security gaps at the airport.
The attackers, who killed at least 47 people and wounded hundreds of others, raised the suspicions of plainclothes officers on duty at the airport as they wore winter jackets despite the summer heat.
Reports indicated the intervention of officers at the airport diminished the impact of the attack by upsetting the militants’ plan, although falling short of preventing the attack altogether.
Three Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants opened fire outside of the airport to create panic before two of them moved inside the building and blew themselves up.
According to reports, the attackers’ original plan was to take dozens of people hostage inside the terminal and blow themselves up together with the hostages.
The plot could not be carried out as planned after the militants were countered by an officer.
The association head also slammed claims which spread over social media that taxi drivers charged stranded passengers three to five times higher on June 28, saying such behavior would be “dishonorable.”
“We have three funerals and a heavily injured friend. We have 10 friends who sustained injuries to different parts of their bodies but right now it’s as if all that is forgotten. I mean, we lost our lives, we lost our properties, but none of that is being discussed right now,” he said, urging people to step forward with the license plate numbers of the taxi drivers who tried to charge them higher rates.