Turkey condemns Myanmar violence against Rohingya Muslims

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 28.08.2017 21:17
Updated 29.08.2017 12:23
This picture taken on August 25, 2017 shows ethnic Rakhine people fleeing from a conflict area at the Yathae Taung township in Rakhine State in Myanmar. (AFP Photo)
This picture taken on August 25, 2017 shows ethnic Rakhine people fleeing from a conflict area at the Yathae Taung township in Rakhine State in Myanmar. (AFP Photo)

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday called on the international community to act against the recent atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar as the number of people killed in the last three days reached thousands.

Speaking on state-run broadcaster TRT Haber news channel, Erdoğan said Turkey would raise the issue at international organizations: "This [violence in Myanmar] will be on our agenda at the General Assembly of the United Nations [on Sep. 19]."

Turkish foreign ministry also released a statement, condemning the "disproportionate use of force" by Myanmar security forces that led to the death of hundreds and displaced thousands of Rohingya Muslims.

"Turkey's concerns were conveyed to the Myanmar authorities as we emphasized the importance of ensuring the safety of civilians during the operations and the humanitarian aid to be delivered to the region without any interruption," the statement read.

During a joint news conference with Maldivian counterpart Mohamed Asim in Ankara Tuesday, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also strongly condemned the violence against the Muslim minority in Myanmar.

Çavuşoğlu said that Rohingya people were systematically being repressed, and the cruelty against them cannot go on as it is, adding that Turkey was already in contacts with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the U.N. to address the issue.

"56 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation should not stay silent, we must come together and find a solution," Çavuşoğlu said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Government Spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ said that Turkey condemns Myanmar's massacre of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

He said the problems in the state will not be solved through violence, and asked the United Nations and the U.N. Security Council to assume its responsibility to stop the bloodshed in Rakhine state.

The European Rohingya Council spokeswoman Anita Schug said on Monday that between 2,000-to-3,000 Muslims had died in Rakhine state, and thousands other had been injured in what she described as a "slow-burning genocide".

She said almost a thousand Muslims were killed on Sunday in Saugpara village, Rathedaung alone.

More than a 100,000 civilians have been displaced in Rakhine, while another 2,000 Muslims are trapped on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border which was closed by the Bangladeshi government, Schug added.

Deadly attacks on border posts in western Myanmar's Rakhine state broke out on Friday, resulting in mass civilian casualties.

Later, media reports emerged saying Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force and displaced thousands of Rohingya villagers, destroying homes with mortars and machine guns.

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

A security clampdown launched in October last year in Maungdaw, where Rohingya form the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The U.N. documented mass gang rape, killings, including that of babies and children, brutal beatings and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people were slain during the operation.

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