Malaysia eager to learn from Turkey on border security, minister says

Buoyed by Turkey’s border management that ensures security inside the country, Malaysia’s interior minister says his country has much to learn from the systems Ankara has developed over the years.

After a weeklong trip to Turkey, where he visited areas bordering Syria, Iraq and Greece, as well as command-and-control centers, Hamzah Zainudin told Anadolu Agency (AA) that Malaysia would like to learn from Turkey on refugee control and share experiences in tourism, preservation of historical sites and strengthening people-to-people exchanges.

Amid changing local and global politics, Zainudin urged stronger political leaderships inside Muslim nations besides unity and solidarity among political parties, which, he said, will yield better results for those countries.

Malaysia, he said, would like to play a role in struggling for a better world where it would work with everyone.

Lauding the closer relationship between Turkey and Malaysia at the highest levels, Zainudin said Turkey and Malacca were “actually two Muslim countries that had been working together in many, many sectors” in their shared history of 500 years.

“Because Malacca (peninsula) had been a trading nation those days, and Turkey (Ottoman State) had been superpower those days,” he said, adding that formal diplomatic relations established in 1964 “became into another level of an understanding” between the two countries.

“In the current situation where the world economy is changing, when superpowers are playing into their own agenda, we in Malaysia feel that we also need to work closely with not only other countries but also with Turkey, as the two brotherly countries have been working for the last 500 years,” the Malaysian minister said.

At the outset of his official trip to Ankara, Zainuddin said, he called on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, during which he briefed the president “about our problems especially on managing our border,” the visiting minister said.

The Malaysian minister was flown to Turkey’s border areas with Syria and Iraq and later on sailed through waters to witness maritime border management with Greece.

“There, the (Turkish) government officers showed me how they manage, how they plan to provide, not only in terms of physical surveillance; they’re also using technologies, there, at the border,” he said, recalling his experiences.

“They (have) built concrete walls, they (have) built roads, they provide lightning along the border and all these issues … the importance of having proper management of border control,” Zainuddin said.

The Malaysian minister said he also visited Turkey’s command-and-control center of the border management system. “Alhamdulillah!” Zainuddin exclaimed about his experience of him after visiting the center.

About his visit to the border with Greece and Bulgaria, the minister said Turkish officials took him aboard a boat “to go exactly at the border between Greece and Turkey.”

“That is where I saw Turkey took it very, very serious on controlling the border,” he said.

Given the geopolitical situation of this region, the Malaysian interior minister said, “There are many interested parties or countries (that) would like to have their base in this region.”

“Because of that, Turkey has come up with a policy to strengthen their security and defense situation of that area,” he added.

“To do that, you have to have proper technologies, proper assets, and they (have) developed this kind of assets and industries (to) make sure that they have a sustainable defense mechanism in the future,” said Zainuddin.

“I salute them. I would like to congratulate Turkey for having a farsighted policy in terms of defending the country… (a) sovereign country and also the security,” the Malaysian minister said.

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