Turkish FM says Ankara 'would have sheltered Rohingya'

Turkish FM says Ankara 'would have sheltered Rohingya'

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Turkish FM says Ankara would have sheltered Rohingya

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, L, visited Turkish war veterans in the western province of İzmir on May 29. AA photo

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Ankara would have sheltered the Muslim Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants with merchant ships close to the Andaman Sea if Indonesia and Malaysia had not.

Çavuşoğlu made the remarks at a live televised interview in İzmir province late May 29. "Turkey offered help with the issue and will continue its support," he said.

Malaysia and Indonesia announced on May 20 that they had agreed to offer temporary shelter to the Muslim Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants -- thousands of whom are stranded on the Andaman Sea -- but only if the international community agrees to then resettle them after one year.
'Libyan officials apologize for Tuna-1 incident'

Çavuşoğlu also talked about the Tuna-1 incident that happened on May 10, when a Turkish cargo ship off the coast of the port city of Tobruk was attacked in international waters with no warning.

"During my visit to Kuwait for Organization of the Islamic Cooperation meeting, Libyan officials apologized for the Tuna-1 incident," Çavuşoğlu said.

"It was barbaric to attack a civil ship without any warning," he said, adding that he and his counterparts held a "constructive" meeting on the matter.

Libya's Tripoli-based parliament had condemned the incident as well.
Train and equip program for Syrian opposition

Asked about the details of the nascent train-and-equip project by the U.S. and allies for Syrian rebels, Çavuşoğlu said approximately 2,000 people would complete the program in a year.
"I can give no details about military-concerning parts, but they the trainees should have some set of skills. We think and implement in accordance with the U.S.," he said.
Turkey inked an agreement with the U.S. in February to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition forces.
Çavuşoğlu told a local Turkish daily on May 16 that 300 Syrian fighters had arrived for the program on May 9.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan have also agreed to join the effort to train Syrian opposition. The U.S. plans to train as many as 5,000 Syrians during a 12-month period, according to the Pentagon.

'The coup regime dragging Egypt to disaster'

Regarding the latest situation in Egypt, Çavuşoğlu said, "The coup regime is dragging Egypt to disaster."

"We are voicing this issue in every platform, saying we are worried about the regime pushing all opposition underground," the Turkish foreign minister said.

"Egypt is in a terrible situation right now. We want a strong, stable Egypt. Without foreign help, Egypt would collapse instantly," he added.

On May 16, Morsi and more than 100 Muslim Brotherhood supporters were sentenced to death by a Cairo court in connection with a mass jail break in 2011.

The court referred 122 out 166 defendants, including Morsi to the grand mufti to consider death sentences against them over charges of jailbreak and espionage.

Last month, Morsi -- who became Egypt's first democratically elected president in 2012 after the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak -- and 12 co-defendants were sentenced to 20 years in prison for organizing attacks on protesters in 2012.

Morsi was ousted in July 2013 by a coup that was led by incumbent Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who then acted as defense minister to end Morsi's rule and suspend the constitution.