SEPANG: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah are on a seven-day state visit to Turkiye at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Comptroller of the Royal Household for Istana Negara Datuk Seri Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, in a statement, said the state visit was scheduled for last year, but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The state visit is the first by Their Majesties since the pandemic, he said, adding that the last state visit by Their Majesties was in August 2019 to Indonesia.
“Due to the spread of Covid-19 at the beginning of 2020, the state visit by Their Majesties that was scheduled in 2020 and 2021 had to be postponed,” he said.
The special aircraft carrying Their Majesties took off from the Bunga Raya Complex, Kuala Lumpur International Airport here, at about 10am yesterday.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his wife Datin Seri Muhaini Zainal Abidin were present to send off Their Majesties.
Also present were Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong and Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali.
Before leaving, Their Majesties were given a Royal Salute by the First Battalion of the Royal Malay Regiment, consisting of four officers and 103 members, accompanied by a 21-cannon salute and the national anthem.
Ahmad Fadil said that while in Turkiye, Sultan Abdullah was scheduled to meet with Erdogan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara.
Their Majesties are scheduled to attend a state banquet hosted by Erdogan at the venue.
He added that tomorrow and Thursday, Their Majesties would have a separate programme in Ankara, before leaving for Istanbul.
Sultan Abdullah is scheduled to visit the US FNSS Defence Systems tomorrow, while Tunku Hajah Azizah will visit the Goreme Museum in Cappadocia.
On Thursday, Their Majesties are scheduled to visit the Turkish Aerospace Industries and the Ankara Advance Technical Institute for Girls respectively.
However, before leaving Ankara, Their Majesties are scheduled to visit the Diyanet Islamic Library.
In Istanbul, Their Majesties are scheduled to visit the Abu Ayyub al-Ansari Tomb, Sultan Abdul Hamid II Tomb, Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque and Topkapi Palace Museum before meeting the Malaysian diaspora in the evening, Bernama reported.
On Saturday, Their Majesties are scheduled to visit the Dolmabahce Palace.
According to Ahmad Fadil, the last state visit to Turkiye by a Malaysian constitutional monarch was in 1992 by the Ninth Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Yussuff Izzuddin Shah Ghafarullahu.He said the state visit symbolised the importance, closeness and strong bilateral relationship between Malaysia and Turkiye which was established in 1964.