Many high-profile figures need to travel to locations around the world and require a sufficient amount of personal protection as they do so. We have all seen photos or footage of VIPs being collected by chauffeurs in a limo or trying to get out of the vehicle gracefully. When it comes to making international appointments it is often deemed necessary for a well-known individual to fly in style. German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has been known to travel on a military jet for official trips and earlier this year Merkel’s plane had an unwelcome visitor.
Love on the mind, head in the clouds
It is often said that love can make you do strange things and a German man named only as ‘Volkan T.’ certainly lived up to this age-old adage after reportedly having a disagreement with his girlfriend. On 25 July 2013 a bodybuilder of Turkish descent drove from his home to Cologne-Bonn Airport. When he was met by security it is claimed that the bodybuilder told them he was planning a wedding reception inside the officers’ quarters and wished to take a look at the building. Supposedly carrying a bag of ecstasy pills and marijuana, ‘Volkan T.’ successfully made it past the guards and climbed over a barbed wire fence to an empty Airbus 319, used on occasion by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
An exclusive party
Chancellor Merkel was not due to board the plane as she was at the Bayreuth Festival in Bavaria, hundreds of kilometres away. However, the ease at which Volkan T. was able to gain access to the jet has caused more than a few concerns. The 24-year-old had evaded security cameras to make it onto the military airfield and then proceeded to dance on the plane’s wing wearing just his underwear. During four hours alone on board, Volkan got into the cockpit and manipulated the controls, setting off an emergency slide. He caused â‚¬100,000 worth of damage to the luxury interior by spraying foam from a fire extinguisher around. The surface of one of the wings was damaged and the plane, which reportedly had enough fuel to reach Beijing, could conceivably have taken off as he operated the controls. Police initially tried to get him to leave by asking over a megaphone but were unsuccessful. Ultimately, the episode came to an end as a police dog bit Volkan’s leg and officers also found his identity documents inside a bag alongside what was allegedly marijuana and ecstasy.
A military motive?
The jet, which has a conference suite, a private office and VIP seats and a sofa amongst its features, has since been repaired. After causing the damage Volkan T was taken to a psychiatric institution and it was reported by the German newspaper Bild that he had been found asleep in a bed usually used by Chancellor Merkel on long flights. Besides the suspicion that the intruder had an argument with his girlfriend prior to the incident, it has also been suggested that he had been angry with the military for turning down his application to join the army. The case has yet to come to trial but Cologne state prosecutor Ulrich Bremer stated at the time that Volkan T. could be kept in a secure psychiatric unit if it was deemed that he could be capable of further crimes. Although no photos of him were released Bilddid manage to speak to his parents. His father was named simply as Frank and he told how his son had been diagnosed as being in the initial stages of schizophrenia. He said: “Four years ago Volkan began speaking nonsense and accused us of plotting against him.” Frank voiced his opinion that Volkan’s military rejection was his reason for getting on board the jet. He also revealed that his son had given up a wholesaler apprenticeship after his diagnosis and begun smoking marijuana as well as taking steroids for his bodybuilding hobby. Volkan’s mother Erika added: “On the day (his military application was rejected) he visited us but we didn’t let him in. Perhaps he’ll now finally get the help he needs and will get healthy again.”