Turkey hit by mas­sive power cut, public trans­port shut­down

The China Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY STU­ART WIL­LIAMS

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.

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