123,600 people from Rohingya Muslim community have crossed into Bangladesh as tens of thousands more were internally displaced since the latest violence began
Turkey’s president said on Wednesday that “different calculations” had kept the Rohingya plight alive for many years, amid the latest flare-up in the persecution of Muslim community in western Myanmar.
“Of course, we know that the troubles in Arakan [Rakhine] originate from complex reasons with a long history which is constantly teeming with different calculations,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a meeting in the capital Ankara of his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s provincial representatives.
Erdogan said that he had telephoned the leaders of nearly 30 countries to discuss the situation in Rakhine and especially urged leaders from the Muslim world to do more.
"This oppressed people certainly do not deserve to be crushed between the two powers that are accounted for in the region,” Erdogan said.
"We ask those fighting over natural gas, oil deposits, and coastal harbors in this region to not do it at the expense of the life, blood, and future of innocent people," he added.
Erdogan said that the world is already witnessing enough pain and massacres, citing Syria and Iraq as examples, and stated that nobody with “conscience and morals” would want more of the same.
"For this reason we will continue to protect the Muslims in Rakhine state and other oppressed peoples, be their voices, and continue to reach out our hands," he added.
Erdogan has led the global chorus of condemnation of the Myanmar army crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority, which forced over 120,000 people to take shelter in neighboring Bangladesh.
His wife, first lady Emine Erdogan, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will fly to Bangladesh on Wednesday to discuss the issue with Bangladeshi authorities and visit the refugees.
Erdogan also warned that some of the /images and videos of the situation posted on social media could be fake, with no relation to the truth of the situation.
“And it is useful to know that many of the /images, pictures, and news that circulate in the media, especially social media, aren’t related to Rakhine", he said.
According to the UN on Tuesday, 123,600 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh as tens of thousands more were internally displaced since the latest violence began on Aug. 25.
North Korean nuclear test
Turning to recent developments in North Korea, Erdogan said that Turkey is following the tensions arising from North Korea's missile tests "closely with concern".
"We want the crisis -- which concerns our friends Japan and South Korea -- to be resolved as soon as possible," he said.
"It is clear that there will be no winner in a fight with weapons of mass destruction," he added.
Erdogan stated that countries urging Turkey not to have weapons of mass destruction are the same ones that already have the most powerful weapons of mass destruction.
The president said that if there is going to be a fight against nuclear weapons, this needs to start with those who already own the weapons.
"In such a fight not [only] will the [warring] sides be harmed, but all of humanity," Erdogan said.
"We are inviting North Korea to immediately give up on actions that escalate the tension," he said.
North Korea claimed to have detonated a new hydrogen bomb on Sunday, one that could be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM.
Turkey's EU bid
Erdogan also said that Turkey continues to pursue its EU membership goal.
"We have been fulfilling our responsibilities since the day our membership negotiations started,” he said, adding, “We did our job."
Erdogan said Turkey had tolerated delays caused by the EU “as we believe that these reforms will raise the democratic and economic standards of our citizens.”
“However, it is obviously intolerable that the European Union, which fails to fulfill its promises to our country, starts accusing us.”
Erdogan said the ball is in the EU court to do something.
"They will either keep their word and start the full membership process and address their liabilities to prevent irregular migration, or they will say, 'We don’t want to go on with Turkey',” Erdogan said.
Apparently referring to German and Austrian politicians focusing on Turkey ahead of fall elections in those countries, Erdogan said Turkey will not let itself be used as campaign fodder.
Erdogan called it “hypocrisy and political indecency” to force Turkey to end its negotiations for full membership and urged EU countries to be sincere with Turkey.
“You will either make a decision soon… or say it honestly and do what is necessary if you can’t even bear Turkey’s current relationship with the EU.”