Davutoğlu, PM's wife to visit Arakan to deliver aid

August 06, 2012, Monday/ 18:17:00

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's wife and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu will travel to Myanmar's Arakan province on Wednesday to deliver aid to Rohingya Muslims who have been forced to flee their homes on account of the violence there and who now face hunger, thirst and disease.

Erdoğan announced the plans during a TV program on Sunday night, stating that a delegation, including his wife Emine and daughter Sümeyye, will pay a visit to Arakan on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Davutoğlu will also join the delegation.

The Prime Ministry has also recently launched an aid campaign for Rohingya Muslims.

Releasing a notice that was published in the Official Gazette on Sunday, the Prime Ministry said thousands of Muslims from Arakan are seeking shelter as refugees in neighboring countries and that they are facing life-threatening conditions.

“Turkey will provide all possible assistance and support for the Muslims of Myanmar during the holy month of Ramadan, when feelings of social solidarity and cooperation are strong, in line with the people's expectations. Therefore, an aid campaign has been launched by the Prime Ministry to this end,” the notice reads.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Selçuk Ünal has said the visit to Myanmar aims to draw more attention to the major humanitarian crisis in the country. Saying that Davutoğlu has been discussing possible steps to take to help the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar with Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Professor Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Ünal added that Davutoğlu also spoke with the foreign minister of Bangladesh, where a great number of Rohingya Muslims have taken shelter, and he sent a letter to Myanmar's foreign affairs minister about the ongoing violence in the country; however, he did not elaborate on the content of the letter.

Meanwhile, Turkish charity foundation Deniz Feneri has sent aid packages prepared with TL 100,000 collected from Turkish philanthropists to Myanmar's Arakan province. The aid packages include 37.5 tons of food, which is considered to be enough to feed 1,500 people for a month.

The foundation also offers free iftar (fast-breaking dinner) to the refugees in Bangladesh's Cox Bazaar and Chittagong districts, where most refugees are now located.

Another Turkish charity, Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There) has distributed aid packages to more than 90,000 Rohingya Muslims in Arakan so far. The charity's head, Ünal Öztürk, has said that he has gone to Arakan with a large team from his charity to see what people need there. “We have seen that they are living under horrible conditions,” he said.

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