Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Emine Erdoğan, the Turkish prime minister's wife, on Friday visited Rohingya Muslims staying in the Banduba refugee camp in the Myanmar coastal state of Rakhine.
Apart from the United Nations, this is the first instance of foreign aid being distributed to refugees in need in the region by another nation. The Turkish Red Crescent briefed Davutoğlu and Erdoğan about conditions at the camp during their visit.
Turkish Red Crescent staff stated that there are 8,532 people sheltered in the camp and that there are currently 801 tents. The Turkish Red Crescent is delivering boxes of food.
When Erdoğan asked what the refugees' biggest problem was, Turkish Red Crescent officials said those in the camp struggle with finding suitable accommodations and suffer from malnutrition. Later, Davutoğlu and Erdoğan headed to a Buddhist camp and distributed more aid packages there as well.
Upon learning of the difficulties faced by Buddhists as well, Davutoğlu stated people all have equal rights and that he would like to see Muslims and Buddhists living together in peace. Davutoğlu also conveyed the best wishes of the Turkish people to the people of Myanmar and stressed that the Turkish Red Crescent came to help everyone and will continue delivering aid to the community.
According to official data, the population of Myanmar is 55 million, of which 90 percent are Buddhists and 10 percent are Muslims.
Meanwhile, the Turkish Prime Ministry Disaster & Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) has stated that so far they have collected TL 3.4 million in their aid campaign for Muslims in Myanmar.
The AFAD thanked Turkish citizens for their support of their Muslim brothers and sisters suffering from civil war, ethnic massacre and poverty in Arakan region of Myanmar.
Buddhists intensified killing of Muslims after news of Turks visit
There are claims that the massacre of the Muslim population in Myanmar increased directly after news of the visit by Ms. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu was released across the country, the Turkish Vatan daily reported on Friday.
Official statistics say more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims living in Myanmar have been killed and more than 90,000 have been left homeless due to the violent events that Rohingya Muslims have been facing since June.
According to the Vatan daily, the slaughter of Muslims intensified just before the high-level Turkish delegation visit to Myanmar on early Thursday.
American Salem News reported about a Myanmarese activist's letter which stated: “After hearing about the visit of the Turkish delegation here [to Myanmar], Buddhists ravaged the houses of local Muslims and killed dozens of people. We have never seen such horrors. Even the most talented directors cannot shoot this kind of [horror] scenes.”
With the massacres carried out in Myanmar over the past few weeks, a state of emergency was declared in nine regions and a night curfew was enforced from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. in certain parts of the country with a large population of Muslims.
Following the bloody ethnic massacre, Muslims in the Arakan region have fled across the river between Myanmar and Bangladesh although Bangladesh authorities have refused to accept any more refugees into its territory because the country is not able to cope with a further influx of refugees.