Eurasia Marathon brings together many professional and amateur athletes from all around the world together for a run that begins in Asian side of Istanbul, after 15 km run that includes crossing the Bosphorus Bridge, ends in Europe. This year, one of those athletes (or maybe someone who just joined the crowd) wanted to do more and started a new branch within the marathon: suicide jump.
The two bridges between Asia and Europe, Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet, are closed to pedestrians, because in the past many people committed to suicide by jumping down from these bridges. The jumps happened a few other times after it was closed to pedestrians. People were getting out of their cars or cabs suddenly in the traffic and running to the banisters. A few managed to jump, most were killed. I remember one, after a 64 m fall, survived.
Yesterday, one of the amateur athletes or somebody who happened to join the crowd, jumped down the bridge and drowned himself in Bosporus.
In May 2009, a friend was visiting me in New York City, where I took him to one of the most common touristic places–the Brooklyn Bridge. There walking from Manhattan towards Brooklyn and enjoying the view we had a conversation about the bridges in Istanbul and how nice it would have been to be able to walk on them. Then my friend said that we couldn’t, “because when you let people walk over the bridge in Istanbul, they kill themselves.” We laughed at this and then continued our walk and rested at Fulton Ferry State Park (a.k.a. Brooklyn Bridge Park) enjoying the early summer sun.
A few months after this conversation, somebody jumped off Brooklyn Bridge and committed suicide. When we talked about it, we decided that we had influenced that person at the bridge to jump and we felt guilty about it. I think we have imported a culture of suicide to NYC. (For those, who does not comprehend irony, this is irony. So, do not call 911.)
Now you all know: it is fun and deadly to jump off the bridges, do it more often.