Support for Rohingya to continue, FM Çavuşoğlu says

Published 04.10.2017 19:32

Turkey will continue to support Rohingya and all the oppressed communities across the world, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said.

Mentioning a camp that would be built in Bangladesh for Rohingya refugees who are fleeing religious and ethnic violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state, Çavuşoğlu said Turkey would help the Muslim community even if nobody shows up for their support.

"Even if nobody shows up to [support] the Rohingya, we would help them, we have to," the foreign minister said in an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA).

Some 507,000 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh since the outbreak of fresh violence on Aug. 25, according to the U.N. migration agency. The refugees are fleeing a fresh security operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan brought the issue up at this year's U.N. General Assembly.

"Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency [TİKA], Turkish Red Crescent and Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority [AFAD] are doing their best to deliver humanitarian aid to Rohingya staying in Bangladesh," Çavuşoğlu said.

The Rohingya, described by the U.N. as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012. Last October, following attacks on border posts in Maungdaw district, security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed. The U.N. documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, U.N. investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

Çavuşoğlu also decried what he called the international community's indifference to the plight of the Rohingya. "Even Muslim countries have not shown interest," he said.

He asserted also that Rakhine state is home to the Rohingya and they have been living there "for a long time."

"Nobody can say that Muslims in Arakan are not a part of Myanmar," Çavuşoğlu said using an older name for Rakhine state.

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