UNTIL recently, the worst thing about transiting through Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport was the heaving throng of passengers crammed into its over-stretched terminals and under-staffed security lines. It was also the best thing. Witnessed from the sanctuary of a barstool with time on your side, the endless haze of Nigerians, Swedes and Pakistanis dancing around one another creates the most sublime of spectacles. It is a modernist dream that quickly becomes a nightmare, of course, when you join the scrum yourself. Yet the appeal of the global hub endures for all but the most battle-worn and hardened of business travellers.
So it was each time Gulliver visited Ataturk until September, when his stopover to East Africa and back took on a more sombre, desolate tone. This was his first time in the airport since June, when suicide bombers loyal to Islamic State killed 42 and injured 200 at the hub. The very next month, a failed coup d’état left 250 dead and 2,000 injured across the country. In the airport, complaints about the lack of free Wi-Fi were replaced by uneasy glances over hunched shoulders. Seats were easier to find.
Category: Business and finance, Gulliver