“A feeling of hopelessness:” UWM student studying in Istanbul reacts to airport attack

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ISTANBUL -- Authorities in Istanbul, Turkey are increasingly convinced the Islamic State group was behind the bombings at the airport Tuesday, June 28th. Three suspects opened fire before detonating suicide vests in the international terminal at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport. 42 people were killed and 230 more were hurt.

A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee student is currently in Istanbul, and he's dealing with this tragedy with a unique perspective.

Nichali Ciaccio

Nichali Ciaccio

"There`s been a lot of security," Nichali Ciaccio said.

Amid chaos, Ciaccio is studying peace.

"It`s not shock or surprise anymore. It`s more of an anticipation for when the next one happens," Ciaccio said.

Ciaccio, a Milwaukee native, has been in Istanbul since May. He is studying abroad as part of UWM's "sustainable peace building program." He has been doing field work with a non-profit that deals with Turkish-Armenian relations.

At least 10 people have been killed and 20 others injured in the attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told CNN. The two suicide bombers were also killed. Bozdag said one attacker "first opened fire with a Kalashnikov then detonated himself" at the airport entrance.

"Over the past year, over 250 people in Turkey have died as a result of these kinds of bombings and attacks," Ciaccio said.

Since the attack at Istanbul's airport, Ciaccio said he's been in contact with friends he's made in Turkey, and learned all of them are safe.

Nichali Ciaccio

Nichali Ciaccio

"I haven`t been personally very worried about my own safety. Far more noticeable is the absence of foreigners -- the absence of tourists," Ciaccio said.

Ciaccio will leave Istanbul on Monday, July 4th -- but not by plane.

"I`m going to be leaving by bus. I`m heading to Albania from here," Ciaccio said.

Nichali Ciaccio

Nichali Ciaccio

He will continue his studies there -- taking with him a deeper understanding of a country in mourning.

"What we`re seeing here is a sense of, not just sadness over the immediate tragedy, but also a feeling of hopelessness," Ciaccio said.

Nichali Ciaccio

Nichali Ciaccio

Originally, UWM reported Ciaccio was in eastern Turkey during the bombings. Ciaccio said he spent weeks in that region and felt very safe there. He said he misses his family and friends in Wisconsin, and he let everyone back home know that he was OK as soon as news of the attack spread.

At least 10 people have been killed and 20 others injured in the attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told CNN. The two suicide bombers were also killed. Bozdag said one attacker "first opened fire with a Kalashnikov then detonated himself" at the airport entrance.

At least 10 people have been killed and 20 others injured in the attack at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport, Turkey's Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told CNN. The two suicide bombers were also killed. Bozdag said one attacker "first opened fire with a Kalashnikov then detonated himself" at the airport entrance.