The Turkish journalist at the centre of the intervention that changed the course of a coup attempt last year has told Euronews that she was offered hundreds of thousands of dollars for the phone on which she broadcast a live message from president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Hande Firat held up her mobile on the CNN Turk channel at around midnight on July 15, 2016 after soldiers had occupied key strategic points in Ankara and Istanbul. Speaking via Facetime, Erdogan urged the public to “Go onto the streets and give them an answer.”
Three hours later, Erdogan had returned from his holiday in Marmaris south-west Turkey and landed in Istanbul and the coup had effectively failed.
Firat says she sat down at her computer the next day and was inundated with congratulatory messages on social media “from all around the world, Arab countries, Greece, Europe, but especially from the Arab world.”
She said users were calling her phone ‘the freedom phone’.
“I got offers from businessmen and journalists who wanted to buy the phone. A Saudi businessman offered $250,000,” she told Euronews in an interview with Euronews to mark the anniversary of the coup. Subsequent offers were even higher, she added.
“In the end, Turkish businessmen called saying ‘please do not sell this phone to others, we will buy it, let’s discuss it.’ I said then, and I still keep saying, this phone is not to be sold. It may not have great material value but the symbolic value of this phone means a lot.”
- Watch the full interview, together with more coverage of the coup anniversary, on Euronews on 15/7/17