Turkey rocked by hostage situation and day-long power cut, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu unable to rule out terrorism as cause

 
Catherine Neilan
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People wait in front of Ataturk airport in Istanbul after a massive power cut caused chaos (Source: Getty)

Turkish markets and its currency were down today as the country suffered a huge power black out lasting several hours, causing widespread disruption.

There was chaos in Istanbul, where the transport system was down, while homes and offices across the city of 14m people had no electricity. By this afternoon power was getting to just 15 per cent of the city. The Turkish capital Ankara had suffered the same fate.
In total, 45 of Turkey's 81 provinces have been affected by today's outage while tracking group Flightradar24 has tweeted that the outage was "affecting flights".
The power cut, which started just after 7:30am GMT, was still affecting huge parts of the country by the afternoon. It had been re-established in the cities of Edirne, Tekirdag, Erzurum and Trabzon, according to local reports.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said officials were investigating all possibilities, including terrorism, according to local reports.
“We're considering all probabilities behind nationwide power outage, including terrorism,” he said.
Energy minister Taner Yildiz said during a state viist to Slovakia that he could neither confirm nor deny that a cyberattack had triggered the blackout, the Anadolu Agency reported. The Turkish Electricity Transmission Co. blamed the outage on a problem with transmission lines.
A crisis centre has been set up at the energy ministry.
Although Turkey regularly suffers from blackouts, this is reportedly the worst power cut in 15 years.
This has been taking its toll on the Turkish Borsa Istanbul 100 Index, which was down 1.5 per cent at the start of the outage. The Bist 30 Index was down 1.7 per cent.
The Turkish lira fell 0.5 per cent against the dollar during the day.
Also today in Turkey, gunmen have taken hostage a prosecutor investigating the death of teenager Berkin Elvan, who died following protests in 2013.
Mehmet Selim Kiraz is believed to have been taken by the armed far-Left group, Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), who have released an image of the prosecutor with a gun held to his head.
According to local reports, the gunmen are demanding a live confession from police officers believed to have killed Elvan, and a people's court to prosecute them, rather than a state court.
They have said they will kill Kiraz if their demands are not met.

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