Erdoğan says Turkey has sent 1,000 tons of aid to Rohingya

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A Rohingya refugee girl looks next to newly arrived refugees who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in Ukhiya on September 6, 2017. More than 125,000 refugees have flooded across the border into Bangladesh. Most are Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority that the government of Buddhist-majority Myanmar largely does not recognise as citizens. / AFP PHOTO / K M ASAD

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey sent 1,000 tons of aid to Rohingya Muslims, who are facing human rights violations in Myanmar.

Addressing a meeting of his party’s provincial chairmen on Wednesday, Erdoğan said his wife, son and family minister would go to Bangladesh.

Erdoğan recently spoke on the phone with Myanmar’s state councilor and de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and discussed how to deliver humanitarian aid to affected people in the region.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is also 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 last week 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.

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

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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