As part of Türkiye’s sports tourism diplomacy efforts, Turkish Diver and World Record Holding Freediver – Şahika Ercümen sent a postcard at Malaysia’s very first underwater postbox located in Sabah’s Mataking Island, to Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and First Lady Emine Erdogan on a recent dive trip.
Turkey is putting Sabah on its map to promote the state as an ideal destination for scuba diving vacation.
Turkish delegation led by Turkey's Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Merve Safa Kavakçi was in Sabah recently for a familiarisation trip that included a visit to Semporna.
“As Türkiye’s Kuala Lumpur Ambassador, I sent our President a message via the post box under the sea. In my message I used the postcard to draw attention to Sabah’s universal values. With [Ms Ercumen] diving underwater, we sent off this postcard to the Presidential Complex.” – Türkiye’s Kuala Lumpur Ambassador, Merve Kavakci.
Hosted by the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), the educational visit is also joined by renowned Turkish diver and world record-holding free diver Şahika Ercümen.
Şahika Ercümen, who currently holds 11 world records in freediving, said she wants to help create awareness to protect the oceans as a representative of Emine Erdogan’s Zero Waste Blue project and United Nations Aquatic Life Defender. She also added that she was honored to have gotten a chance to dive and explore Sabah’s underwater biodiversity.
Sabah Tourism Board President Noredah Othman said that Sabah, especially Semporna is very rich in aquatic biodiversity and thus presented ideal opportunities for oceanic tourism and hopes that with the travelling restrictions easing up Turkish divers will consider Sabah as a new destination.
About Mataking Postbox
The Mataking post box is located in a wooden ship 20 metres below the sea, which was sunk in 2006 as part of the protection plan of the island and is now home to many artificial reefs.
The post box, into which divers can leave vacuum-sealed postcards, is emptied twice a week by expert divers and the postcards are delivered to Sabah central post office.
Sabah, home to the world-famous Sipadan Island Park and Tun Sakaran Marine Park comprising eight islands, has six protected marine parks.