By Enes Kaplan
Myanmar on Tuesday allowed a Turkish aid agency to distribute 1,000 tons of aid to Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, according to Turkey’s presidential spokesman.
Kalin said in a written statement that the permission from Myanmar came hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s telephone discussion with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on the recent violations of human rights in Rakhine.
“Myanmar government allows representatives of TIKA [Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency] to enter conflict region and distribute 1,000 tons of aid in the first phase,” the statement read.
The moves makes TIKA the first foreign aid agency to get permission from the government to enter the region since the latest violence began on Aug. 25, Kalin noted.
He said the aid would be distributed by military helicopters along with the Rakhine state government as uncertainty and security concerns continue in the region.
The emergency aid packages contain rice, dry fish, and clothes, according to Erdogan’s aide.
He added that the Turkish aid agency would continue supplying aid, including food, clothes, and medicine, in the area in cooperation with the local government.
He highlighted that a Turkish delegation, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and TIKA head Serdar Cam, would visit Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district, where thousands of Rohingya have taken shelter in the last 10 days.
Kalin said that Turkey plans to initially distribute aid to 100,000 families in coordination with the governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Nearly 125,000 fled to Bangladesh
According to the UN on Tuesday, 123,600 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh as tens of thousands more were internally displaced by the latest violence.
Rakhine, which lies in western Myanmar, has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.
In a security crackdown launched last October in the state’s northern Maungdaw district, the UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances.
The report found evidence of human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.
Rohingya representatives have said that around 400 people were killed in the crackdown.
In recent weeks, the government has boosted its military numbers in Maungdaw, and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) claimed responsibility for attacks in which the government said dozens were killed.
The ARSA said the attacks were in response to raids, killings, and looting by soldiers.