Erdogan to Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi: Muslim World Concerned About anti-Rohingya Violence

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A Rohingya family reaches Bangladesh after crossing a creek on the border with Myanmmar, September 4, 2017.
A Rohingya family reaches Bangladesh after crossing a creek on the border with Myanmmar, September 4, 2017. Credit: Bernat Armangue/AP

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan told Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday that violence against Rohingyas was of deep concern to the Muslim world, and that he will send his foreign minister to neighboring Bangladesh to discuss the fighting.

Myanmar has come under pressure from countries with large Muslim populations to stop violence against Rohingya Muslims after at least 400 people were killed and nearly 125,000 fled to Bangladesh in the deadliest bout of violence targeting the minority group in decades. 

Erdogan, who has said that the violence against Rohingya Muslims constitutes genocide, told Suu Kyi on Tuesday that it was a violation of human rights and that the Muslim world was deeply concerned, Turkish presidential sources said. 

The latest violence in Myanmar's northwestern Rakhine state began on August 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an army base. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive have killed hundreds and triggered the exodus of villagers to Bangladesh.

In the phone call, Erdogan and Suu Kyi also discussed potential solutions to the fighting and means to deliver humanitarian aid to the region, the sources said. 

They said Erdogan had condemned terrorism and operations targeting civilians, voicing concern that the developments could turn into a serious humanitarian crisis.

Erdogan, with his roots in political Islam, has long strived to take a position of leadership among the world's Muslim community. On Friday, he said it was Turkey's moral responsibility to take a stand over the events in Myanmar.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will travel to Bangladesh on Wednesday evening and hold meetings on Thursday, the Turkish sources said. 

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