Erdogan says world remains ‘indifferent’ to violence against muslims in Myanmar

Erdogan says world remains ‘indifferent’ to violence against muslims in Myanmar

SAM Report,
Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄŸan says he will bring up the issue of Rohingya Muslims at the next UN General Assembly in New York later this month. Photo: Anadolu Agency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday the world “stayed indifferent” to “mass killings” of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, adding that he had discussed the issue with the leaders of around 20 countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

“I have already discussed this [Rohingya crisis] with around 20 leaders of the OIC countries… On September 19, we will raise this issue at the United Nations General Assembly and will discuss it with global leaders. Unfortunately, mass killings of the Muslims have taken place in Myanmar. But the world stayed indifferent to this,” Erdogan told journalists.

Almost 400 people have reportedly died in clashes between the country’s security forces and Rohingya Muslims. According to the authorities, those killed included 370 Rohingya, 13 members of Myanmar’s security forces, two government officials and 14 civilians. The violence provoked sharp criticism from the international community.

On Friday, Erdogan strongly criticized global media for insufficient coverage of the violence against Rohingya and called the situation a genocide against the Muslims.

In late August, Muslim insurgents of Rohingya origin attacked security posts in the state of Rakhine. The attacks prompted a harsh response from Myanmar’s authorities, with the ongoing clashes between Burmese armed forces and Muslim insurgents killing hundreds of people and forcing thousands to flee their homes.

Rakhine is a site of frequent clashes between Myanmar’s Muslims and Buddhists. The conflict that started about a century ago has gradually escalated since 2011 before hitting its peak in 2012, when thousands of Muslim families sought asylum in the special refugee camps on the country’s territory or fled to Bangladesh. Yet another escalation started in 2016.

Open your doors to Rohingya Muslims, we’ll bear their expenses: Turkey tells Bangladesh

Turkey’s foreign minister has urged Bangladesh to open its doors for Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state and offered to bear their expenses.

Mevlut Cavusoglu was speaking at an event held on Friday in connection with Eidul Azha in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Cavusoglu said if Bangladesh opened its doors for Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar, Turkey was ready to cover their expenses.

“We have also mobilised the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. We will hold a summit on Arakan [Rakhine state] this year. We need to find a decisive solution to this problem,” he added.

Cavusoglu also spoke on the phone with former UN Secretary General and the head of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine, Kofi Annan, on Friday.

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

According to media reports, Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their 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 crackdown launched last October in Maungdaw, where Rohingya make up the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The UN documented mass gang-rape, killings – including infants and young children – brutal beatings, and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people have been slain during the crackdown.