Turkish Plane That Skidded off the Runway Could Soon Be Turned Into a Library

A Pegasus Airlines plane that nearly slid into the Black Sea earlier this month may one day house a library if local Trabzon city mayor Orhan Fevzi Gümrükçüoğlu has his way.
Mario L. Major

From urban to rural space, our rising global population—and levels of product consumption—have created a repurposing revolution: from modular homes made from converted storage containers or old school buses, to the dozens of modern hack videos showing more ways than you ever thought possible to use a wooden crate (and also reviving the term shabby chic), people are realizing more and more that almost any product or space can have a second, third...or even fifth life.

The local authorities in the North-central Turkish city of Trabzon, however, are taking the repurposing concept to a completely new level: in this case, it's an airplane that may be repurposed. On the early evening of January 13th, One of the Turkey-based Pegasus Airlines' Boeing 737-800 planes skid off the runway after making its landing, screeching along before grinding to a dramatic halt at the edge of a cliff just overlooking the Black Sea (even a scriptwriter couldn't have written a better version of this airline drama).

One passenger aboard the plane at the time, Fatma Gördü, shared the details about the experience of those inside: “We stayed inside the plane for at least 20 minutes waiting for someone to help us," and after a period of “shaking”, “It [the plane] then swung to one side and the back of the plane moved in an upward direction. There was panic, and people were screaming." 

Makeshift Libraries in Turkey

Thankfully, all 162 passengers—as well as the 6 members of the flight crew, beyond experiencing the panic and fear of the ordeal, were all safely evacuated, with no injuries reported. Now, though the fate of those aboard is very clear, the future of the plane is a different story. Now, 5 days after its removal, local mayor Orhan Fevzi Gümrükçüoğlu has appealed to Mehmet Tevfik Nane, the company’s General Manager, to provide the plane to the city as a gift, with the condition that it be used as a library, citing as a reason:

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“Keeping it here will also erase the bad memories attached to the plane.”

Though the response appears to have been favorable, no doubt there are several details the two will need to iron out together.

The mayor may be responding to a larger issue of lack of adequate library space in cities throughout the country. Turkish people are finding an endless supply of ways to convert public spaces into the next library.


The Black Sea town of Giresun is darted with oversized piggy banks housing toys as well as books that people drop off for public use. In the Aegean coastal town of Datça, there are smaller scale versions on the street: boxes with sliding doors for residents to drop off or pick up books, no questions asked.

Even in the capital city of Ankara, a group of committed and very-civic minded garbage collectors joined forces in April 2017 and began rescuing books bound for the nearest landfill, amassing a collection of over 5000 treasures that will be donated to various schools and public and private institutions throughout the city. This spirit of taking literacy matters into one’s own hands, it seems, resonates strongly throughout Turkey.