World's silence on Myanmar violence against Rohingyas 'a portrait of shame’: presidential aide

Published 02.09.2017 00:55
Updated 02.09.2017 01:20
This August 30, 2017 photo shows Rohingya refugees reaching for food aid at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. (AFP Photo)
This August 30, 2017 photo shows Rohingya refugees reaching for food aid at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. (AFP Photo)

The international community has the responsibility to come up with a long-term solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar's western state of Rakhine, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın said on Friday.

"Turkey will continue to maintain its constructive and determined attitude for a solution," Kalın said in a Twitter post.

He called "the world's silence" in the face of the persecution of Rohingya Muslims by security forces of the southeast Asian country "a portrait of shame."

Turkey is continuing its "intensive efforts and initiatives at every level to end the humanitarian tragedy" in Rakhine, according to the president's aide.

He noted that Turkish humanitarian aid agencies, including the Turkish Red Crescent, Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), and Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), are involved in these efforts.

Turkish authorities are also in contact with authorities in Myanmar and Bangladesh -- where thousands of Rohingya have fled -- to supply humanitarian aid to the Rohingya people, Kalın stressed.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also been very vocal about the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine, conducting phone diplomacy with many world leaders to call for a solution to the violence. On Friday, he accused Myanmar of committing "genocide" against Rohingya Muslims in a speech he gave in Istanbul for the occasion of Eid al-Adha.

Erdoğan said he would bring up the issue at the next U.N. General Assembly in New York later this month, adding that he had already talked to Guterres as well as a dozen other Muslim leaders.

Violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state on Aug. 25 when the country's security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya Muslim community. It triggered a fresh influx of refugees towards neighboring Bangladesh, though the country sealed off its border for the refugees.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

2017 has been the bloodiest chapter yet in a bitter five-year crisis that has torn apart Rakhine state along ethnic and religious lines, displaced the region's Rohingya community in huge numbers and heaped international condemnation on Myanmar's army and the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Around 400 people -- most of them Rohingya Muslims -- have died in the violence, according to the army chief's office Friday, while the U.N. says 38,000 have sought refuge across the border in Bangladesh.

A further 20,000 Rohingya have massed along the Bangladeshi frontier, barred from entering the South Asian country, while scores of desperate people have drowned attempting to cross the Naf, a border river, in makeshift boats.

Reports of massacres and the systematic torching of villages by security forces have further amplified tensions, raising fears that violence in Rakhine is spinning out of control.

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