TURKEY

Erdoğan conducts telephone diplomacy with Muslim leaders on Rohingya crisis

ERDOĞAN CONDUCTS TELEPHONE DIPLOMACY WITH MUSLIM LEADERS ON ROHINGYA CRISIS

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held phone calls with many Muslim leaders on Thursday to call for intensified efforts to solve the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, according to presidential sources.

Speaking to the heads of states of eight countries on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, or Qurban Bayram as it is known in Turkey, the president conveyed his concerns about the situation in Rakhine to the King of Saudi Arabia Selman bin Abdulaziz Al Suud, the Kuwait Emir Sheikh Sabah El Ahmed El Sabah, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid.

Erdoğan had also held phone calls with his Pakistani counterpart Mamnoon Hussain, Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, Mauritanian counterpart Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani earlier in the day.

He called on the leaders to intensify their efforts to find a solution to the humanitarian crisis in the southeast Asian country.

Giving his best wishes for Qurban Bayram, the president said that the problems in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Libya and the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar have cast a shadow over the holiday and deeply saddened the Islamic world.

The sources also said that Erdoğan's telephone diplomacy on the issue will continue.

Violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state on Aug. 25 when the country's security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya Muslim community. It triggered a fresh influx of refugees towards neighboring Bangladesh, though the country sealed off its border to the refugees.

Media reports said Myanmar security forces have used disproportionate force, displacing thousands of Rohingya villagers and destroying their homes with mortars and machine guns.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

A security crackdown launched last October in Maungdaw, where Rohingya make up the majority, led to a U.N. report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The U.N. documented mass gang-rape, killings -- including infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people have been slain in the crackdown.

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