While on a summer holiday with her family, a Saudi woman was reportedly kidnapped in one of Turkey's most popular tourist cities, Istanbul. The abductee, known as Abir, was allegedly taken from a location near the hotel she and her family were staying at, situated in the Asian side of Istanbul.
Since her disappearance on Wednesday, the police along with the Saudi consulate have been attempting to make contact with the victim, but to no avail. They are yet to locate her whereabouts, Asharq Al-Awsat reported.
Sources told the newspaper that surveillance cameras in the area recorded the moment Abir was taken. "A person carrying a small package sprayed a substance on the face of the Saudi tourist, who lost consciousness, before taking her with him until she disappeared from view," the content of the video is said to be, according to the same sources.
The abduction occurred days after two Saudi men were held at gunpoint, attacked, and robbed while sitting at a coffee shop in the district of Sisli in Istanbul. One of the men was injured after being shot at by the unknown gunmen before they were both robbed of all their belongings.
After the armed robbery, the Saudi Embassy in Turkey issued a warning to advise Saudi nationals to be cautious. The most recent statement, as it was preceded by many this year, instructed people to avoid certain areas after dark.
"The embassy asks male and female citizens, who are present in Istanbul, to exercise vigilance and caution. It also advises against going to the areas of Taksim and Sisli after the sunset," the embassy's statement read.
Here's what the abductee's husband had to say
"She went 50 meters outside the hotel to buy a pair of shoes and come back, and she disappeared. Until now I have seen weak performance from the Turkish police, there is no interaction. Why? I swear I don't know. I'm standing with a consulate employee and a Turkish police officer, and we're following what we saw on the camera."
Due to the rise of petty crime believed to be aimed at Saudis in Turkey, the latter has witnessed a 33.2 percent decrease in Saudi tourists since the beginning of this year. Reports say that 165 Saudi passports have been stolen from three different Turkish destinations in the last four months.
"After some citizens who arrived in the Republic of Turkey on tourism were stopped by authorities for not carrying their original passports, the embassy notes the necessity for citizens to hold on to their original passports and prevent this loss, damage or theft," a statement by the embassy and foreign ministry read.