Turkish coup attempt: Malaysian student tells of horrifying experience

Turkish coup attempt: Malaysian student tells of horrifying experience
Najwa Syahirah Safian said she was able to call her father and tell him about the chaotic situation and her whereabouts before all communications were cut. - fotoBERNAMA
SEPANG: Finding herself safe after the chaotic situation brought on by the coup attempt in Turkey, a 21-year-old Malaysian student said she felt like she was given "a second life".

Najwa Syahirah Safian, who arrived at the KL International Airport here today, said she was grateful that she was unharmed but would never forget her "horrifying" experience.

Sharing her experience, the third-year Pharmacy student of the Cyberjaya University College of Medical Science said she was at Besiktas in Istanbul last Friday when a faction of the military staged the coup.

"I was sleeping alone in my hostel room when I was awakened by the sound of repeated gunfire. I looked out the window and was shocked to see helicopters hovering in the air. I felt something unusual was going on.

"I started to scream for help. Some of my Turkish friends calmed me down and we immediately ran to the hostel basement .... We hid there for almost seven hours, fearing for our lives.
"I thought I would die. I kept praying and reciting verses from the Quran, and hoping that everything would be back to normal," she said. 

She had no idea what was happening until one of her friends told her that there was a coup attempt against the government.

Najwa said she was able to call her father and tell him about the chaotic situation and her whereabouts before all communications were cut.

The next day (Saturday morning), when the situation was calmer, the hostel authority advised her to move to Pazateke, where the other Malaysians were staying.

After a 40-minute ride by tram, Najwa and her Turkish friends reached Pazateke where she was contacted by her father and Wisma Putra personnel who arranged for her return home. 

Najwa went to Istanbul on July 10 as a participant of the Malaysian Pharmacy Students Association Student Exchange Programme from July 11 to July 24. 

The programme had to be discontinued because of the unsafe situation. 

Her father, Safian Abd Rassid, 56, a lecturer at a teacher training college in Seremban, was a picture of relief and joy when he received her at the airport.

According to media reports, the Turkish government announced on Saturday that it had foiled a military coup attempt to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Wisma Putra said the 260 Malaysians, including 180 students, in Turkey were safe.