Turkish first lady, foreign minister visit Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, distribute aid
First lady Emine Erdoğan and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh alongside a Turkish delegation on Sept. 7.
“It’s impossible not to be effected [by the situation] as a human. May God help them,” Erdoğan said after visiting the Kutupalong Camp, housing Rohingya Muslims who have fled from violence in Myanmar since Aug. 25.
“I hope the entire world will focus on this issue both in terms of sending aid and finding a political solution. This needs to be solved. Such barbarity in this age is unbelievable and it is happening right in front of the world’s eyes,” she added after speaking with the refugees to learn about the tragedies they experienced.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan, Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair Ravza Kavakçı Kan and senior Turkish aid officials are accompanying the president’s wife and Çavuşoğlu during their visit.
Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) head Serdar Çam, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) head Mehmet Güllüoğlu, Turkish Red Crescent General Manager İbrahim Altan, Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV) head Arzu Akalın and Women and Democracy Association (KADEM) head Sare Aydın are also in Bangladesh to oversee aid distribution.
Saying that “criminals should be punished,” first lady Erdoğan noted that “normal people shouldn’t be treated this way,” while also calling on the international community to act.
“We all have children. We can’t ignore the situation here just because they are not our children. We all bear responsibility. That’s why we are here. We are here to announce this to the world. We are here to help.
Please, everyone, do the best you can,” she added.
Reiterating President Erdoğan’s previous remarks on carrying the issue to the United Nations General Assembly in the upcoming days, Emine Erdoğan said the leaders must be sensitive to the plight of the refugees.
According to the United Nations workers operating there, the estimated number of Rohingya Muslims who have fled to Bangladesh leapt by 18,000 in one day, to 164,000 on Sept. 7.
Meanwhile, Çavuşoğlu urged Bangladeshi authorities to help the Rohingya Muslims together.
“We wanted to show we are with these people [by coming here]. We are going to continue this regularly with the International Organization for Migration. In addition, we are sending this message to our Bangladeshi friends: ‘Let’s help these people together,’” Çavuşoğlu said, adding they are willing to obtain results from President Erdoğan’s efforts since the beginning of the crisis.
“We want to show the situation here to the whole world. However, showing is not enough. Our efforts are ongoing,” he also said.
Saying that meetings will be held with leaders from the Islamic world in Astana, Çavuşoğlu noted they aim to find a permanent solution after holding an expanded meeting in New York.
He also said they are in touch with the Myanmar authorities.
“President Erdoğan spoke with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. We have told them attacks against Rohingya Muslims should be stopped. They told us they will do whatever they can. However, they are ignoring some of the videos and photographs we are seeing. We need to find a solution to this together,” Çavuşoğlu added.
The Turkish delegation received information from the Kutupalong Camp officials before leaving the site.