Serge Ibaka recounted his harrowing story of being stuck in Turkey during the coup
Earlier this summer, Turkey was besieged by a military coup. Scores were killed and tens of thousands were detained in the aftermath as the government worked to regain control of the country. For NBA star Serge Ibaka, it was a terrible case of being caught in the wrong place at the exact wrong time.
In his first-person essay over at The Cauldron on Tuesday, Ibaka, who was in the country for a charity soccer game, writes about what it was like to learn about the coup in the middle of a gala the night before the game was to be played.
At first, everything was great. Everyone had smiles on their faces and good food on their plates. Then, around 11 p.m., my phone started buzzing. Friends were texting me, and fans were tweeting at me. People wanted to know if I was safe. Others at the gala began receiving similar messages. That's when word of the military coup started to spread. All we knew at the time was that some members of the Turkish Armed Forces were attempting to seize control of certain parts of the country's capital, Ankara.
With the airports closed down, Ibaka was stuck in the country for another day, but was eventually able to secure a flight to Barcelona. In a somewhat odd bit of serendipity, Ibaka's former Thunder teammate Enes Kanter made headlines about the Turkish coup recently as well. Kanter's family publicly disowned him for his outspoken support of exiled leader Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government has accused of being behind the coup.