To make a long story short:
1. We were supposed to take the Turkish Airlines flight of 13.00 from Izmir to Istanbul, so we reached the airport before 12.00. The flight was cancelled for reasons unknown to us. After that, we had booked a connection flight (Turkish Airlines again) to Athens at 17.00 from Istanbul to Athens.
2. We had our ticket changed to the flight of 15.00, and assured by the Turkish Airlines representative in the Izmir airport that we would have no problem catching the connection flight to Athens.
3. We had a really hard time trying to communicate in English with the Turkish Airlines employees at Izmir airport… only the basics and then we needed the intervention of someone more fluent.
4. The flight of 15.00 was delayed for 1.30 hour. In order for us not to miss the flight to Athens, we changed these tickets to the flight of 22.40 from Istanbul to Athens. No discussion about compensation (e.g. food/drink coupons).
5. We finally managed to fly from Izmir at 17.00 (2 hours of delay). We reached Istanbul at about 18.00 and at about 18.30 we realized that the flight to Athens was delayed by two hours!
6. We reached the desk of Turkish Airlines and asked to have our tickets changed to the delayed flight. We were told that the passengers’ list was closed, so we couldn’t be transferred to this flight.
7. We contacted the appropriate desk of Turkish Airlines in order to ask for some kind of compensation (we have been on the road for 6 hours and had already spent some money on food and coffees while waiting for their flights to take off). They refused any kind of compensation.
8. Now the time is 21.00, we are at the Istanbul airport and we are waiting to get on the flight of 22.45 to Athens. We hope that there will be no more delays.
9. Due to the cancellation/delays of the Turkish Airlines flights, we will not be able to use any mean of public transportation (they stop operating at 23.15). Instead, we will be forced to take a taxi, increasing the amount of expenses that we were forced to make due to the delays of the Turkish airlines flights.
I personally consider the approach of the Turkish Airlines totally unacceptable and in no way appropriate for a large airline boasting about its quality and position in the market. I am going to send a complain form (http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passengers/air/doc/complain_form/eu_complaint_form_en.pdf) and see what the official reaction of Turkish Airlines will be.
UPDATE 14/10/2011: Our flight was set for 03.00 and we reached Athens at about 04.00, after almost 16 hours on the road. We were informed that the problem was caused by the strike of the air traffic controllers in Greece. However, this does not explain the lack of information from the Turkish airlines as well as the cancellation of the flight from Izmir to Istanbul as well as the delay of the next flight by 2 hours… the only compensation we received was a sandwich and a refreshment at about 01.30, after many hours of waiting at the Istanbul airport and a significant amount of money spend on coffees and snacks…