“The ministry would like to assure all Emirates who have relatives, family, and friends in Turkey that everyone is safe and fine,” Mohammad Meer Al Raisi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said in an official statement.
“The UAE Embassy in Ankara as well as the Consulate General in Istanbul are in contact with all the Emiratis who are in Turkey and called for help, in addition to those who are registered in ‘Tawagodi’, which is a service provided by the ministry for the citizens who are travelling abroad.”
Al Raisi added that “from the beginning of the crisis, the Consul General of the UAE was present in Istanbul airport, where he assisted 28 Emiratis after their flight back to the UAE was postponed. They were all transported from the airport to suitable hotels in Istanbul [and they were] waiting [for resumption of] flight services.”
In addition, the official urged all citizens planning to travel to Turkey to wait until the situation calms down and everything goes back to normal. “If any person is forced to travel, he/she must register on ‘Tawagodi’ service before travelling, and memorise all important numbers such as that of the UAE embassy in Ankara, and consulate in Istanbul.”
Khalifa Abdul Rahman Al Marzouqi, Consul-General of the UAE in Istanbul, confirmed over phone that “all Emiratis are safe, and all the needed help was provided for the 28 Emiratis, including children, women, and elderly people, who were stuck at the airport on the day the [coup attempt] took place. ”
Rashad Bukhash, director of the Architectural Heritage Department at Dubai Municipality, who is leading the UAE delegation, was all praise for the UAE diplomats in Turkey for the service extended to Emiratis stranded at the airport after the military coup attempt.
Those returning to Sharjah on Friday night had to be deplaned and were stranded in the airport for several hours, he said.
“They were in the plane when the coup took place that night and they had to come down and stay in the airport for some hours,” Bukhash said over phone from Istanbul.
The UAE Embassy officials had swung into action and arranged hotel accommodation for the affected passengers. Senior diplomats personally assisted the stranded Emiratis, he noted.
“Some are still in the hotel and some have managed to come back to the UAE. Many citizens came back yesterday and today,” said Bukhash.
“We have a WhatsApp group where consular officials are also there. So, we are in constant touch. We are exchanging information and updates [about the situation in the country],” he said.
The annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee, which was put on hold on Saturday, resumed on Sunday. The meeting which was supposed to run until Wednesday concluded on Sunday.
Bukhash, two other officials from his department and Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, chairman of Sharjah Heritage Institute, attended the 40th session on Sunday. “Everything is OK now. We will be coming back tomorrow,” Bukhash said.