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President Erdoğan talks on phone with Myanmar leader Suu Kyi

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) and Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has spoken on the phone with Myanmar’s state councilor and de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and referred to growing concerns about human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims, TRT Haber reported on Tuesday.

According to the report Erdoğan and Suu Kyi discussed potential solutions to the crisis and how to deliver humanitarian aid to affected people in the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is planning to visit Bangladesh on Wednesday since thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled there. Turkey previously asked Bangladesh to help Rohingya Muslims and promised to cover their needs.

Erdoğan recently said he would raise the violence in Myanmar at the United Nations and accused Myanmar of “genocide” while urging UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to put pressure on the Myanmar government over increasing violence towards Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, which has reportedly displaced and killed thousands of them.

A Reuters report said on Wednesday that more than 18,000 Rohingya Muslims, many sick and some with bullet wounds, have fled the worst violence to grip northwest Myanmar in at least five years, while thousands more are stuck at the Bangladeshi border or scrambling to reach it.

Recent attacks by Rohingya insurgents on security forces in the north of Myanmar’s Rakhine state and ensuing clashes triggered the Rohingya exodus, while the government evacuated thousands of Rakhine Buddhists.

Since the attacks, about 18,445 Rohingya – mostly women and children – have registered in Bangladesh, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Wednesday.

The United Nations, while condemning the militant attacks, has pressured Myanmar to protect civilian lives without discrimination and appealed to Bangladesh to admit those fleeing the military counteroffensive.

At least 109 people have been killed in the clashes with insurgents, Myanmar says, most of them militants but also members of the security forces and civilians.

The treatment of about 1.1 million Muslim Rohingya in Myanmar is the biggest challenge facing national leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been accused by Western critics of not speaking out for a minority that has long complained of persecution.

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