Turkish Envoy Visits Bangladesh to Help Rohingya Refugees from Myanmar

ISTANBUL � Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is to fly to the Bangladesh on Wednesday for talks in the capital, Dhaka.

Ankara is pressing Bangladesh to give sanctuary to all Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar. More than 120,000 of them have entered Bangladesh, fleeing Myanmar military operations against insurgents. Cavusolgu is also due to visit Rohingya refugee camps, and said Turkey would give financial assistance to Bangladesh if it continues to give refuge to those fleeing Myanmar.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned Myanmar for its ongoing military operations.

"There is a genocide there. Those who close their eyes to this genocide perpetuated under the cover of democracy are its collaborators," Erdogan said Friday.

In a phone call with Erogdan this week, Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi said there has been "a huge iceberg of misinformation" about the violence in her country's Rakhine state, according to a post on her Facebook page. She told Erdogan that "fake information" is promoting the interests of "terrorists," a word she used to describe a group of Rohingya insurgents who launched a series of attacks on security posts in Rakhine state that triggered the crisis.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu announced that Erdogan's wife, Emine, will also go to Bangladesh to visit Rohingya refugee camps.

Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin announced that 1,000 tons of aid is being sent to both Bangladesh and to the Rakhine state where Rohingya Muslims mainly live. The aid delivery to Myanmar followed Erdogan's phone conversation with Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Political scientist Cengiz Aktar says Ankara's support of Rohingya Muslims is part of a wider policy by Erdogan and his government.

"They always had in mind a sort of leadership of the Sunni Muslim world," Aktar said. "They have also been very active in Aceh in Indonesia, and now they are trying to be active in Myanmar with the Rohingya. But lately Mr. Erdogan was pretty isolated. I think he is now trying to take every single opportunity to make his image positive and internationally respected."

Erdogan is facing growing international criticism over his ongoing crackdown following last year's coup attempt. The Turkish president said he has been in contact with Muslim leaders around the world and vowed to take up the issue of Rohingya Muslims at the United Nations General Assembly later this month.

Source: Voice of America

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