Ankara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Myanmar on Friday of “genocide” against the Rohingya Muslim minority, while he gave a speech in Istanbul during the Eid-ul-Adha feast.
He referred in his speech the Muslims who have fled in thousands across the border into Bangladesh to escape ethnic violence. “There is a genocide there,” Erdogan said. “Those who close their eyes to this genocide perpetuated under the cover of democracy are its collaborators,” he added.
Reports of massacres and the systematic torching of villages by security forces, as well as by militants, have intensified the tension, raising alarms that communal violence in Rakhine is going out of hands.
To escape the violence, about 20,000 Rohingya have gathered along the Bangladeshi frontier, stopped from entering the South Asian country, while 20 people drowned attempting to cross the Naf, a border river, in a boat capsize.
Erdogan said he would bring up the issue at the next UN General Assembly in New York later this month, adding that he had already talked to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and other Muslim leaders.
According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Bangladeshi authorities to “open your doors,” adding that the country would cover the costs associated with letting in more Rohingya. Bangladesh already hosts 400,000 Rohingya and does not want more.
“We have called upon the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. We will organise a summit this year” on the issue. “We have to find a definitive solution to this problem,” he said.
The UN Security Council met behind closed doors on Wednesday to discuss the violence, but there was no formal statement on the crisis.
The Rohingya are criticised in Myanmar, where the roughly one million-strong community are accused of being illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.