Bruneians safe from failed Turkey coup

, National 2 minutes, 12 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

ALL Bruneians in Turkey are safe following an attempted coup by a faction of the Turkish military that brought a chaotic night of gunfire, violence and uncertainty.

In a phone interview yesterday, Brunei Ambassador to Turkey Hj Mohd Sahrip Othman said eight Bruneian holidaymakers were safe in Istanbul when the Brunei embassy contacted them Friday night.

Two Bruneian families on their diplomatic mission residing in Ankara were also safe, he said.

“We contacted them (all the Bruneians) and advised them to be cautious,” the ambassador said.

A Bruneian student who was with his family on a holiday trip in Istanbul following his graduation in UK said he heard the sound of jets and helicopters from his hotel room.

“We arrived two days ago (Thursday) and everything was fine until last night at midnight (when the jets and helicopters were heard),” said the university graduate who did not want to be named.

“As soon as I heard the news, I contacted the Brunei embassy to inform them we were in Turkey,” added the 25-year-old who was travelling with four family members.

Turkey’s mayhem which began on Friday saw at least 161 people killed, the majority of them soldiers involved in the alleged plot and up to 47 civilians.

A total of 2,840 military personnel were arrested for their involvement in the attempted coup.

In an address to supporters at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted he remains in charge and urged people to take to the streets.

Turkish Ambassador to Brunei Oguz Ates told The Brunei Times yesterday that the situation which unfolded in Turkey was a coup attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected government.

“This attempt was foiled by the Turkish people in unity and solidarity. Our president and government are in charge. Turkish Armed Forces was not involved in the coup attempt in its entirety. It was conducted by a clique within the armed forces and received a well-deserved response from our nation,” he said.

The ambassador said the situation was largely under control although there still remain few coup supporters still rallying.

Turkey has been rocked by instability over the past year, with Kurdish and ISIS militants staging at least 14 major attacks across the country, killing more than 280 people. The most recent attack was a triple suicide bombing at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport on June 28 which killed 45 people.

The attacks have taken a heavy hit on tourism, with Western governments warning their citizens to exercise particular caution if they travel to Turkey. In a recent interview, Ates said the spate of violence was bound to have a negative impact on tourist traffic from Brunei.

The Brunei Times