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PM: 115 Students in Turkey

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The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency providing medical equipment and support to the Mother Health Care Center in Preah Vihear province. Supplied

Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday wrote on his Facebook page that he was concerned about the 115 Cambodian students studying at different universities in Turkey where an attempted coup to overthrow the government happened on Friday.
“The military coup in Turkey just happened and we don’t know which party won, which party lost. But I’m still concerned about the 115 Cambodian students who are studying in Turkey,” said the prime minister.
“May all my 115 young students be careful by not getting involved in any movement, and do so for your own security,” added the premier.
According to the Facebook page of the Turkish embassy in Phnom Penh, the coup in Turkey was an attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government. But it was a failure and blocked by pro-government citizens.
“The situation unfolded in Turkey was a coup attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected government. This attempt was foiled by the Turkish people in unity and solidarity. Our president and government are in charge,” wrote the embassy.
The embassy added that all of the Turkish Armed Forces were not involved in the coup; it was simply a small number of military officials within the armed forces who must be held responsible for their actions, they said.
“Turkish armed forces was not involved in the coup attempt in its entirely. It was conducted by a clique within the armed forces and received a well-deserved response from our nation,” added the embassy.
According to Reuters, at least 265 people were killed in the failed coup attempt. Rebel soldiers used tanks, attack helicopters and fighter jets to try to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday night. The parliament building and the intelligence headquarters in Ankara were strafed, a bridge was captured and an airport in Istanbul was surrounded.
On Saturday, Turkish authorities arrested about 3,000 suspected military plotters, including top commanders and foot soldiers. After the coup, thousands of judges were also arrested and detained. Many more arrests followed yesterday.
“The violence shocked the nation of almost 80 million, once seen as a model Muslim democracy, where living standards have grown steadily for more than a decade and where the army last used force to stage a successful coup more than 30 years ago,” wrote Reuters.
According to Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, diplomatic relations between Turkey and Cambodia were established in 1970, however, the Turkish embassy only opened its doors in 2013.
In contrast, Cambodia has two honorary consulates in Turkey, in Ankara and Istanbul.
Nevertheless, the geographical distance between the two countries makes for a limited economic and political relationship.
In March 2015, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Cambodia for the first time to open diplomatic relations between the two nations.
Total trade volume between the two countries was $124 million in 2014. Turkey’s exports to Cambodia were $12 million and imports were $113 million.
The “Cambodia-Turkey Friendship Road Project” supported by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has consolidated the friendship between the two nations.
In an interview last year with Anadolu Agency, a state-run press agency in Turkey, Ilhan Tug, Turkey’s ambassador to Cambodia, said the Turkish government had a plan to increase bilateral trade between Cambodia and Turkey to $500 million over the next five years.
“The most important thing is increasing trade volume to $500 million by 2020. Currently, it’s around $124 million. We started from $5 million to $6 million in 2005,” said the ambassador.
Turkish Airlines successfully launched its first weekly direct cargo flight from Istanbul to Phnom Penh International Airport on May 21 this year.
On August 23, 2015, an agreement between the Turkish and Cambodian governments on visa exemptions for holders of diplomatic, service and special passports came into force.
“In this regard, holders of the said passports of the Kingdom of Cambodia are exempted from visa requirements to enter into, transit through, exit and stay temporarily in Turkey for a period not exceeding thirty [30] days within a six [6] months period, reckoned from the date of first entry,” wrote Turkey’s embassy in Phnom Penh.

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