ISTANBUL: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad visited the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISGIA), which is wholly owned by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB).
The Prime Minister, who arrived at the airport from Ankara, spent about an hour looking at the operation of the airport, located about 45km from the city centre.
His wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali accompanied him.
They were received by Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, MAHB chairman Tan Sri Zainun Ali and MAHB Group chief executive officer Raja Azmi Raja Nazuddin.
Raja Azmi briefed Dr Mahathir on the history of the full acquisition of the airport by MAHB in 2014, its achievements and development as well as its future plans.
He said the airport handles 41 million passengers annually and can increase its capacity to 60 million with a new runway.
He said Malaysia, through MAHB, is the only Asean country that owns an airport in Europe.
The airport handles 53 airlines flying to 131 international destinations and 41 domestic destinations, he said.
Opened in January 2001, Sabiha Gokcen is the second largest and busiest airport in Turkey and boasts the world’s busiest single runway and terminal. It is also the 12th busiest airport in Europe.
Dr Mahathir arrived in Ankara on Wednesday for a four-day official visit to Turkey.
On Thursday, Dr Mahathir spoke of the need for Muslim countries to pool their resources to make the Islamic civilisation great again.
He said the Muslim world today was in a state of turmoil with nothing substantial being done to tackle the situation.
Speaking at a joint press conference after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan here, Dr Mahathir said there was once a great Islamic civilisation but that was no longer the case now.
“Today, we cannot claim to be a great civilisation, we are all oppressed and many of us are very backward to the point of not even being able to set up the government of our own countries,” he said, adding that Muslim countries should do something to address their weaknesses and their dependence on others.
He said there was a need to find out the reasons behind the current state of the Muslim world to be able to prescribe the correct remedy.
“By working together, countries like Malaysia, Turkey and Pakistan should be able to put their minds and assets together so as to tackle this problem and help resuscitate the Islamic civilisation.”
Earlier, Erdogan presented the Order of the Republic medal to Dr Mahathir in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding efforts to develop Malaysia and strengthen Malaysia-Turkey bilateral ties.
Dr Mahathir underscored that Muslim countries should strive to be independent and be truly capable of doing everything by themselves. — Bernama