Malaysian students terrified by Turkey coup attempt

Photos by Amirulmukminin Amiruddin

PETALING JAYA: The attempted coup in Turkey ️has terrified a group of Malaysian students in Istanbul.

However, the students assured The Star Online that they are safe.

International relations student Amirulmukminin Amiruddin, better known to friends as al-Mahdi, witnessed the events first hand as he lives close to a police station.

“The coup started from the evening at around 8pm or 9pm on Friday where two bridges were closed. At first we thought it was a roadblock. We thought that the army and police were collaborating for a security operation after the Ataturk airport attack last month,” he told The Star Online early Saturday morning via Whatsapp call.

He was referring to Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge.

“But then tanks and jets appeared in the sky,” he said.

Amirulmukminin Amiruddin

As he was speaking, the sound of helicopters could be heard over the phone.

The Star reporter could also overhear prayers being played loudly in the background.

“The masjid (nearby) is playing the ‘selawat’ to calm the people,” he said.

“It’s very terrifying. I’m scared actually,” he said.

“My house is very near the police headquarters. The police are having a shootout with the army. I saw the army marching and heading to the police station. The police have set up a barricade and they are shooting at each other,” he said.

“I ran back home and switched on my laptop. I can hear the commotion because my house is only 5 minutes’ walk from the police HQ,” he said.

“My neighbours who are police personnel left their houses still in their sleeping clothes. They held guns and were walking towards the police station,” he said.

“Special Branch (SB) officers went past my house. They were wearing plain clothes but you can tell they are SB by the way they walk and the pistols they carry,” he said.

Amirulmukminin, who is studying at Istanbul’s Sabahattin Zaim University, said he had reported to the Malaysian student association who had in turn reported to the Malaysian embassy.

Amirulmukminin’s three other housemates Fathi Anas Fauzi, Irfan Khairul and Syamil Ikhwan are also safe and plan to remain in their home.

They have also contacted their families.

“There are about ten Malaysians here but our houses are quite far apart. We are all safe. We told the other Malaysians not to go out,” he said.

“We are safe but afraid because suddenly (Turkish President Tayyip) Edrogan called for everyone to go out to the streets. I could hear my neighbours shouting ‘people power’. Edrogan’s supporters have gone out and there was shooting,” he said.

Access to Facebook and social media has been cut. However Amirulmukminin and his friends kept connected to their social media accounts using proxy servers.

Malaysian classmates in Turkey are also keeping in contact via Whatsapp.

Amirulmukminin said that the shooting which started at 10 or 11pm has been going on for two hours.

Erdogan is currently safe at Marmaris on the Turkish coast where he was on holiday.

“We will overcome this,” Erdogan said, speaking on a video call to a mobile phone held up to the camera by an announcer on the Turkish sister station of CNN.

He said he will return swiftly return to Ankara, the capital.

Turkey’s military said on Friday it had seized power, but the prime minister said the attempted coup would be put down. – Star Oline

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