'Turkey will never abandon Rohingya to their fate,' Turkey's ambassador to UN office in Geneva tells Anadolu Agency
Turkey's ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Naci Koru, on Wednesday called on Myanmar to help Rohingya refugees to return home from Bangladesh.
"The UN has repeatedly requested the Myanmar government help the return of Rohingya refugees to their homes.
“I hope the Myanmar government will pay attention to these warnings and Rohingya Muslims who live in harsh conditions in Bangladesh will be able to return their home. We hope this will happen," Koru told Anadolu Agency in Geneva.
His comments come after an international donor-pledging conference for Rohingya Muslims ended on Monday with Turkey saying it would provide $50 million for the refugees.
"Turkey will never abandon Rohingya to their fate," Koru said.
Noting that Turkey helped the Rohingya from the beginning of the latest crisis, Koru said Myanmar and Bangladesh would play critical roles in helping refugees return to their homes.
The UN high commissioner for refugees on Monday hailed Turkey as "a generous humanitarian donor" after it pledged to support Rohingya refugees.
"l would like to say that Turkey continues to be a generous humanitarian donor globally besides the largest refugee-hosting country in the world," Filippo Grandi told Anadolu Agency in Geneva on Monday.
Koru told the conference: "Within the humanitarian assistance program, we plan to build medium-term shelter units for 100,000 people on a land of 3 million square meters, provide two field hospitals, 10 health and family health centers, deliver drinking water wells and water sanitation [plus] fresh food aid to the municipalities."
"Together with planned projects and deliveries, the total amount of humanitarian aid provided by Turkey will exceed $50 million," he added.
Saying that the Rohingya crisis needs immediate and coordinated action, Koru said: "We are committed to continue our support to Rohingya Muslims in close coordination with the authorities in Bangladesh."
Also on Monday, it was announced that the Turkish Red Crescent had raised more than $5.4 million for the Rohingya, Mehmet Gulluoglu, the head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), told Anadolu Agency.
AFAD itself has collected $16.2 million since 2012. Other Turkish aid groups, like the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), have also been active in helping Rohingya refugees.
At the Geneva conference, IHH representative Taha Keskin said: "We gladly announce that we are going to allocate $10 million for suffering Rohingya people through 2017 and 2018. We will continue to implement our projects from varied clusters through local organizations in Bangladesh and Myanmar."
The conference raised $344 million in pledges for humanitarian aid to the Rohingya refugees, according to the UN.
That amount falls $90 million short of the estimated $434 million required to meet their needs until February 2018, but more than half of that amount will be made up by an estimated $50 million worth of in-kind contributions, the UN said in a statement following the conference.
Over 600,000 flee violence
Since Aug. 25, over 600,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.
The refugees are fleeing a military crackdown in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages.
According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.
Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.