Seoul ensures Koreans’ safety in Turkey

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Seoul ensures Koreans’ safety in Turkey

The government vowed Sunday to heighten safety measures for Koreans living and traveling abroad in the aftermath of an attempted military coup in Turkey and the terrorist attack in the French resort city of Nice.

Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn hosted a ministerial meeting concerning the safety of Korean people as many are expected to travel overseas for vacation or short-term missionary trips during the summer season. Officials from the ministries of foreign affairs, justice, interior and public safety and security as well as the National Intelligence Service and National Police Agency attended the conference.

“Korea should no longer be considered a safe zone from terrorist attacks,” Hwang said, ordering heightened patrols at airports and harbors. Law enforcement authorities were ordered to prepare for all possible kinds of terrorist attacks including copycat crimes by Koreans.

Following the coup in Turkey, the government dispatched a quick response team to the country. One Foreign Ministry official and one police official left for Istanbul Sunday afternoon to check on the Korean residents and travelers’ safety and help in their safe return home.

According to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, about 4,000 Koreans are living in Turkey and no incident was reported about their safety. As of now, 64 Korean companies, including Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor, are operating in Turkey and no damage was reported.

After the operation of Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport resumed, 110 Koreans stranded there left Turkey Saturday night and arrived at Incheon International Airport Sunday morning.

The government issued a travel warning for Turkey on Saturday. Travelers were ordered to cancel or delay their trips there. Those already there were advised to leave.

According to Yonhap News Agency, a group of 30 Koreans participating in Mode Tour’s program is continuing its travel in Turkey. They originally planned to abort the trip and come back to Korea but decided to go ahead as the situation in Istanbul normalized, the report said. The Foreign Ministry said 62 Koreans in France who were reported as unreachable were accounted for as of Saturday.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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