ULAANBAATAR (Mongolia) — More than 127 Malaysians are now stranded at international airports in Turkey, following a military coup attempt and a no-fly zone imposed over the country’s airspace, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said.
Of this figure, he said 27 Malaysians were from the Kelantan Islamic Foundation. They were stranded at the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, while over 100 others, on transit after an umrah trip, were now at the Esenboga International Airport in Ankara.
Most of those stranded were either on transit to a third country such as Egypt or returning from performing the umrah.
“These figures are what we have (as of 12pm Malaysian time). They were stranded after flight cancellations and a no-fly zone was declared in the country,” he told Malaysian journalists who were covering the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem) Summit, which ended yesterday.
Wisma Putra, he added, would coordinate with the Malaysian Embassy in Ankara to ensure the welfare and safety of those stranded.
Zahid also advised Malaysians, including students in Turkey, not to leave their residence.
“They have to follow instructions issued by the Malaysian embassy there. Officials will contact them, if they have not been contacted, they have to contact the embassy,” said the deputy prime minister.
Following the restive situation in Turkey, Zahid asked Malaysians who intended to go there to postpone their travel plans.
In a related development, the Foreign Ministry said that a total of 260 Malaysians, including 180 students in Turkey are reported to be safe following Friday’s attempted coup.
Wisma Putra, in a statement, said the Malaysian Embassy in Ankara had been in contact with all Malaysians there.
“Malaysians requiring consular assistance due to the coup attempt may contact the embassy at +903124463547 or +903124463548 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information,” according to the statement.
The Foreign Ministry has also opened a 24-hour hotline at 03-88874570 for the public to obtain updates.
Malaysian Students Association in Turkey (Masat), in a Facebook posting, said Masat would issue an official statement on the incident after updating information on Malaysian students there.
“It is hoped that everybody will be careful in selecting news and refer to verified news from trusted local news portal (in Turkey),” it said. — Bernama