Metin Dogan, a 40-year-old medicine student, was the man who stood shirtless in front of the Leopard tank before lying down directly in front of its tracks.
The images -- which drew comparison with the Tiananmen Square protester who stood in front of a line of tanks during the 1989 student-led demonstrations in Beijing -- have appeared across the world since Friday’s failed coup and sparked the hashtag #TankMan.
Dogan told Anadolu Agency on Monday how he made his way to the airport after seeing news of the unfolding coup. After persuading someone to give him a lift to the airport on a motorcycle, Dogan said he found a “thrilling” atmosphere there.
“Advancing through the soldiers, I yelled ‘I am a Turkish soldier, whose soldiers are you?’,”he said. “Then the tank stopped but I continued shouting at them. I was surrounded by soldiers.”
He added: “Suddenly the tank started moving again and I lay down in front of the right track of the tank. It stopped again.”
Dogan was among thousands who took to the streets of Istanbul, Ankara and other cities to confront heavily armed coup forces.
According to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Monday, 208 people were martyred in the violence, including 145 civilians.
More than 7,500 suspects have been held -- accused of links to U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, who is said to have pursued a long-running campaign against the government through supporters within the Turkish state.