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Jakarta Post

COVID-19: Indonesian mission in Turkey offers virtual assistance to diaspora

  • Dian Septiari and Apriza Pinandita

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, April 10, 2020   /   06:31 am
COVID-19: Indonesian mission in Turkey offers virtual assistance to diaspora A basket with free food for the needy is lowered from a window during the COVID-19 outbreak in Istanbul,Turkey, on April 3, 2020. (REUTERS/Umit Bektas)

The Indonesian mission in Turkey is holding virtual meetings about COVID-19 to communicate with around 4,500 Indonesian nationals living in the country.

The meetings were scheduled to run from March 5 to April 15, with Indonesian Ambassador to Turkey Lalu Muhammad Iqbal and the consul general in Istanbul, Imam Asari, virtually visiting a different Turkish city each day to communicate with Indonesian nationals.

“The President and the foreign minister have asked us to monitor the conditions of our fellow Indonesians in Turkey. These visits are being made to address their concerns,” Iqbal said in a press release on Wednesday.

“We want to show them that they are not alone in a hard time like this. [Indonesian] missions are there for them.”

Read also: Indonesian diaspora in US holds virtual 'kebaya' competition in COVID-19 quarantine

The missions have engaged since Sunday with citizens living in eight provinces in Anadolu Bolgesi (Central Anatolia Region), six provinces in Ege Bolgesi (Aegean Region), 10 provinces in Karadeniz (Black Sea Region) and two provinces in Sakarya Region.

They will continue their virtual visits in 17 provinces in Akdeniz Bolgesi (Mediterranean Region), Istanbul and four provinces in Marmara. The meetings will end with virtual visits to four provinces in Dardanelles.

During the meetings, Iqbal and Imam informed the citizens of the latest developments of COVID-19 in Indonesia and Turkey. They also informed them about measures being taken by the missions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on Indonesian citizens in Turkey.

The missions said that hundreds of Indonesians of various backgrounds, ranging from students to spa workers, showed their enthusiasm in the two-hour meetings. Topics discussed include employment, immigration, finances and supplies. Indonesia is preparing an online portal to address these issues.

The Indonesian Embassy in Ankara established a supplies post for Indonesians living in four cities close to the capital, where most Indonesians in the country dwell.

Read also: Indonesia joins multilateral pursuit of 'practical', coordinated response to COVID-19

The embassy involved its own staff and regular citizens in joint task forces spread across 37 places in Turkey.

“We are ready to provide help once the worst occurs,” Iqbal said.

Indonesians were ordered to follow the direction of Turkish authorities regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Imam said.

The embassy estimates there are around 4,500 Indonesians across 81 provinces in Turkey, 2,700 of whom are students while 1,500 are spa workers and the rest professionals or spouses of Turkish nationals.