TURKEY LAUNCHES NATIONWIDE AID CAMPAIGN FOR ROHINGYA

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Several aid agencies, including Turkish Red Crescent, Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, are involved in campaign.

Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said that a number of institutions — including the Turkish Red Crescent, Religious Affairs Directorate, and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) — are involved in the major campaign.

ANKARA (AA) — Turkish aid agencies on Monday launched a nationwide aid campaign for Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.

Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdag said that a number of institutions — including the Turkish Red Crescent, Religious Affairs Directorate, and the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) — are involved in the major campaign.

“Turkey is determined to build temporary shelters and camps to support the children, women, elderly and families in the area,” he said.

Akdag also decried the approach of the UN, which he described as setting up meetings, releasing condemnations, and dragging the issue out.

“We will not take such an approach,” Akdag said.

People wanting to donate 10 Turkish liras (approx. $3) can do so by sending an SMS with the word “ARAKAN” (meaning Rakhine) to 2868 or else through bank transfers.

Aid to thousands

On Monday, the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) announced that since August 25 it has distributed humanitarian assistance to over 62,000 Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh following reports of mass civilian casualties and displacements in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Akdag also decried the approach of the UN, which he described as setting up meetings, releasing condemnations, and dragging the issue out. “We will not take such an approach,” Akdag said.

According to the aid agency, the emergency aid in the camps included food aid for 4,750 families, tents for 2,250 families, kitchen and living materials for 1,050 families, financial aid for 2,000 families, clothes for 950 families, and hot food for 1,500 people.

The aid agency also treated 30 wounded Rohingya Muslims and provided immediate food aid to people crossing Myanmar’s border to Bangladesh.

Additionally, the agency also distributed 20-kilogram rice packages to 1,000 families in the Kutupalong camp and a month’s worth of food aid to 1,000 families who live in camps around Kutupalong.

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.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine’s Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings — including infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel.

In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations constituted crimes against humanity.

Fresh violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine state more than two weeks ago when security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya community.

Bangladesh, which already hosted around 400,000 Rohingya refugees, has faced a fresh influx of refugees since the security operation was launched.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he will raise the issue at the UN General Assembly this month.

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