Turkish President Calls State Counselor on Rakhine Situation

By The Irrawaddy 6 September 2017

YANGON — In a phone call to the Turkish president, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi said the government was working to protect all the people in Rakhine State “in the best way possible” and would do its best to “stop terrorism spreading” across the region, according to the State Counselor’s Office.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the State Counselor on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the recent outbreak of violence in northern Rakhine State, triggered by a militant attack on police stations that has so far caused the displacement of more than 130,000, the majority of whom are Muslims fleeing to neighboring Bangladesh.

Many in Turkey, a constitutionally secular state with a Muslim majority population, have expressed concerns over the exodus and the treatment of Muslims affected by the violence.

President Erdoğan said he is confident that Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, as a leader who has faced and overcome challenges and an advocate of human rights, will approach the situation with a vision of a long-term solution, according to the office.

President Erdoğan added that news and photos of the conflict have sparked worldwide concerns, said the office.

“We know very well, more than most, what it means to be deprived of human rights and democratic protection. So we make sure that all the people in our country are entitled to protection of their rights as well as the right to not just political but social and humanitarian defense,” the State Counselor replied.

During the conversation, she said there should be no spreading of misinformation, citing the Turkish deputy prime minister’s tweet of fake pictures concerning the situation in Rakhine.

She said it was, “simply the tip of a huge iceberg of misinformation calculated to create a lot of problems between different communities and with the aim of promoting the interest of the terrorists.”

She said Turkey has faced the challenges of terrorism and has to cope with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK, a group demanding equal rights and Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.

The government would ensure “terrorism does not take root in Myanmar” and spread across the region, she added.

President Erdoğan has recently accused Myanmar of “genocide” against self-identifying Rohingya Muslims.

Reuters reported that Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will travel to Bangladesh on Wednesday evening to hold meetings about the fighting in Rakhine.