ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Aid packages for Muslims in Myanmar are being loaded to a plane which was to carry Turkish FM Davutoğlu to the country.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu
departed yesterday to observe the situation in Myanmar, from where he said Turkey was receiving “conflicting information” regarding deadly religious violence.
“The administration [in Myanmar] says the deaths are around a hundred... but the Muslim leaders in Rakhine, with whom we have been in contact, say the deaths have reached thousands,” Davutoğlu told reporters in Ankara
before his departure. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s wife, Emine Erdoğan, and daughter, Sümeyye Erdoğan, and the foreign minister’s wife, Sare Davutoğlu, are accompanying Davutoğlu.
The foreign minister is taking along medical supplies and donations collected by Turkey’s Red Crescent to deliver to the probably more than 50,000 Muslims and 20,000 Buddhists who have been displaced from their homes by the conflict.
First foreign aid
“The information we have, the international community has, is very conflicting,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse. Fighting in the western state of Rakhine between Rohingya Muslims and local Buddhists has killed 80 people from both sides since June, with six reportedly killed last weekend, according to Myanmar authorities. The Turkish foreign minister said he had to go himself and “observe the situation on the ground” to get reliable information, but his main purpose was “to make sure help reaches those people in no time.” The Turkish aid, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, was the first foreign humanitarian assistance Myanmar had accepted, apart from support received through a United Nations campaign. The violence initially broke out in June following the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman and the subsequent lynching of 10 Muslims by a crowd of Buddhists.