Abu Dhabi/Ras Al Khaimah: The UAE and Turkish authorities are optimistic that a 33-year-old Emirati man who went missing in Turkey on August 25 will be found.
Top diplomats from both countries told Gulf News on Tuesday that they are expecting “something positive” regarding the investigation.
But so far, efforts to trace Jasem Ali Al Shehi from Ras Al Khaimah have proved fruitless.
“We are expecting something positive especially after today’s meeting [with Turkish authorities],” Saif Al Shamsi, the UAE Consul General in Istanbul, said over the phone.
Although there was no definite information on Tuesday afternoon, the UAE consulate hoped that it would find Al Shehi in good health, considering the rigorous efforts by the Turkish authorities, he said.
However, it is very difficult to say how long the search will take because Istanbul is a big city with 14 million residents, the diplomat said.
“The Turkish authorities are expecting something positive very soon,” Vural Altay, Turkish Ambassador to the UAE, told Gulf News.
“Turkish authorities are making all efforts to find the man. As soon any information comes we will share it with the UAE authorities,” the envoy said.
Altay said about 35 million tourists visit Turkey every year and all of them return home safely.
“I am sure that Al Shehi will also return home safely,” he said.
Wednesday will be the tenth day that Al Shehi has been missing and his family is worried.
“We are worried about his condition,” said Al Shehi’s brother Malek. “Turkey is his favourite destination. He went there on a regular holiday and had planned to have a minor check-up. He was supposed to stay only for a week.”
Malek said his brother was seen on CCTV footage leaving his hotel by taxi but the video did not clearly show which taxi he got into. Al Shehi is single and the second eldest in the family. His elderly parents have been told about the situation, said Malek.
The UAE Consul General said Al Shehi arrived in Turkey by himself on August 18. He was expected to return to the UAE within a week (by August 25), Al Shamsi said.
On that day, his brother called up the UAE Consulate, complaining that they had lost contact with him, the diplomat said.
It was not clear whether his mobile was switched off or if he was not answering his calls.
The consulate contacted the Turkish authorities and found out that Al Shehi was staying in the Istanbul Assos Hotel in the old city.
A hotel employee also reported that their guest had not returned to his room for three or four days.
The authorities searched his room for clues and immediately contacted all hospitals, medical facilities and police stations, the diplomat said.
“The family told us that Al Shehi was not suffering from any severe medical condition. We have been in touch with his family, relatives and UAE officials. No one has flown in from the UAE into Turkey yet,” Al Shamsi said.
“The family is worried and they call us between four to five times a day and we keep updating them with what we are doing to find him. The communication channels are open between the consulate, the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Turkish authorities,” he said.
Malek said Jasem used to call them every day from Turkey, but the family lost all communication with him on August 25. They alerted the UAE Embassy in Turkey 24 hours later.
His family also reported the incident to Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs, via his Twitter account. Shaikh Abdullah responded quickly to their plea, said family members and they get updates from his office.
“Shaikh Abudullah immediately followed up the case with the UAE embassy in Turkey and our family in Ras Al Khaimah,” said his brother Malek.
“Authorities from both sides are working together to trace and find Jasem. But so far there has been no information as to where he is today,” his brother said.