KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — The Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah and Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah today left to Turkey for a seven-day state visit.

The special aircraft carrying Their Majesties took off from the Bunga Raya Complex, Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here, at about 10am.

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.

Meanwhile, Comptroller of the Royal Household for Istana Negara Datuk Seri Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, in a statement today, said the state visit by Their Majesties was at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He said the state visit to Turkey was scheduled for last year, but it was postponed due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

The state visit is the first by Their Majesties since the Covid-19 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 were scheduled in 2020 and 2021 had to be postponed,” he said.

Ahmad Fadil said that while in Turkey, Al-Sultan Abdullah is scheduled to meet with Erdogan at the Presidential Palace, Ankara.

Tomorrow, Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Hajah Azizah are scheduled to attend a state banquet hosted by Erdogan at the Presidential Palace, he said.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Their Majesties will have a separate programme in Ankara, before leaving to Istanbul.

While Al-Sultan Abdullah is scheduled to visit the US FNSS Defense Systems on Wednesday, Tunku Hajah Azizah will visit the Goreme Museum in Cappadocia , and on Thursday, Al-Sultan Abdullah and Tunku Hajah Azizah is scheduled to visit the Turkish Aerospace Industrie 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, On Saturday, Their Majesties are scheduled to visit the Dolmabahce Palace.

According to Ahmad Fadil, the last state visit to Turkey by a Malaysian constitutional monarch was in 1992 by the 9th 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 Turkey which was established since 1964. — Bernama