World-renowned freediver Sahika Ercumen recently sent a postcard to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his wife from an underwater postbox in Mataking Island, Sabah.
The dive trip to Malaysia’s very first underwater postbox – hosted by Sabah Tourism Board (STB) – is part of Turkey’s sports tourism diplomacy efforts.
Turkish Ambassador to Malaysia Merve Kavakci, who penned the message on the postcard, said he wanted to highlight the beauty of Sabah.
“In my message, I used the postcard to draw attention to Sabah’s universal values.
“With Ercumen diving underwater, we sent off this postcard to the Presidential Complex,” he said.
Ercumen, who currently holds 11 world records in freediving, said she wants to help create awareness of ocean conservation.
“We have one home; we must protect it. In the fight against the climate crisis, it is imperative that we protect the seas that are the lungs of the world,” she said.
Ercumen added that she was preparing for a new world record. The diver hopes to highlight issues such as global warming and the protection of marine life through her achievements.
STB president Noredah Othman said Sabah, especially Semporna, is very rich in aquatic biodiversity and thus presented ideal opportunities for oceanic tourism.
She hopes that with the travelling restrictions easing up Turkish divers will consider Sabah as a new destination.
The Mataking postbox is located in a wooden ship 20m below the sea. The ship was sunk in 2006 as part of the protection plan of the island and is now home to many artificial reefs.
The postbox, 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.
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