Turkey hit by massive power cut, public transport shutdown
A massive power cut caused chaos and shut down public transport Tuesday across Turkey, with the government refusing to rule out that the electricity system had been the victim of an attack.
The nationwide power cut, the worst in one-and-a-half decades, began around 10:36 a.m. (0736 GMT) in Istanbul, the state-run Anatolia news agency quoted the Turkey Electricity Transmission Company (TEIAS) as saying.
It was confirmed to have hit 49 of the country’s total 81 provinces, from the Greek border to those in the southeast neighboring Iran and Iraq and including Istanbul and the capital Ankara.
Several hours later, swathes of Turkey including much of Istanbul were still without power, although public transport systems such as metro lines appeared to be working again.
“Every possibility, including a terrorist attack, is being investigated,” said Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu after the magnitude of the outage became clear.
He added that a crisis cell has been established at the energy ministry to handle situation, which occurred as President Re- cep Tayyip Erdogan was out of the country on a visit to Slovakia.
Energy Minister Taner Yildiz also said the authorities were investigating whether the power outage was due to a technical failure or a “cyber-attack.”
“The most important thing for us is to bring the system back to life. This is not something we frequently experience,” Yildiz said.
He later sought to calm tensions, saying power had already been restored to several regions and the whole country “would be fully energized again soon.”
The ministry was quoted as saying by Turkish media that a power cut on this scale had not been seen in 15 years.
The blackout trapped people in elevators while the metro systems in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir all stopped working for several hours.
Rescue teams rushed to subway stations to evacuate stranded travelers and bring them to the surface.
Traffic lights also were not working in several places in Istanbul and Ankara, causing huge traffic jams, with officers taking to the streets in an attempt to break the logjams.
Websites warned commuters to take special care of traffic ac- cidents. The Marmaray metro line which goes underneath the Bosphorus in Istanbul also went down while high-speed train services from Ankara were also halted.
Power Gradually Returns
Around three hours after the power cut struck Istanbul, the metro, tramway and the Marmaray subway system came back on line and resumed operations.
Power was being gradually restored to Istanbul with some reports claiming that 80 percent of the city had power again. However many private homes and offices were still without power.