A man performed a BASE jump from the top of Istanbul’s historic 67-meter tall Galata Tower on the morning of Nov. 8.
Cengiz Koçak, 44, jumped from the terrace near the top of the tower with a rudimentary parachute, as part of an event organized by the European Outdoor Film Tour (EOFT).
Koçak staged the jump 385 years after the famous flight of Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, credited with the first flight with artificial wings in the history of Ottoman Empire.
“I have been performing BASE jump for 26 years. I have jumped over 6,000 meters from a plane and have conducted 650 jumps from buildings, cliffs and bridges. But this is something else. I have picked up the legacy from Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi and that is enough for me,” he said after the jump.
Koçak also said he plans to jump from the television tower on Çamlıca Hill on Istanbul’s Asian side in May 2018, as the second part of a seven-stage marathon which will also include jumping from the Galata Tower and landing in Üsküdar, like Hezarfen in the 17th century.
“I couldn’t sleep last night. I was more excited than normal. After I opened the parachute I lost myself. I had so much fun. In Turkey we are not really where we should be in aviation sports. But this was the lowest base jump ever staged in Turkey,” he added.
Hezarfen Ahmet Celebi was a legendary Ottoman aviator who in 1638 took off from the Galata Tower and landed successfully in Üsküdar, on the Asian side of Istanbul.
Turkish director Mustafa Altıoklar’s 1996 film “Istanbul Beneath My Wings” was based on this story.
BASE jumping, also sometimes written as B.A.S.E. jumping, is parachuting or wingsuit flying from a fixed structure or cliff.
“BASE” is an acronym that stands for four categories of fixed objects from which one can jump: Building, antenna, span, and earth.