Turkish FM urges world to be sensitive about Rohingya


Turkey's foreign minister Wednesday urged the international community to show sensitivity to the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar's western Rakhine state.

"Not only the Islamic world but also the entire international community should be sensitive" to the mass killings in Rakhine, Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference on the sidelines of a meeting of the foreign ministers of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia in the Azeri capital Baku.

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

According to the UN, 123,600 Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh as tens of thousands more were internally displaced by the latest violence.

"Unfortunately we haven't seen that sensitivity. There is a human tragedy there and it is unfolding in front of the eyes of the whole world," Cavusoglu said.

After his visit to Azerbaijan, Cavusoglu said, he is due to visit Rakhine to oversee the distribution of humanitarian aid through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Turkish Red Crescent.

Calling relations among Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia "perfect," he added, "This tripartite meeting and tripartite mechanism contribute a lot to the region's stability and economic development."

-Joint projects

Cavusoglu said the joint projects being launched by the three countries would benefit not only them but also the entire region.

He underlined the importance for the region of the projects, including the Southern Gas Corridor and the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP).

"I hope we will inaugurate TANAP in 2018," he said.

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Project has also started test runs, Cavusoglu said, adding that its grand opening will be scheduled in line with the results of this.

On the Silk Road Project/One Belt-One Road project, set to forge new trade ties between Europe and China, Cavusoglu said that Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia are the three most important countries along this route.

Also speaking to reporters, Georgian Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said that Turkey, Georgia, and Azerbaijan have expanded cooperation in many fields.

"This is actually a unique regional mechanism for cooperation giving us an excellent opportunity to discuss this wide agenda," Janelidze said.

Reiterating that the projects that three countries have been cooperating on will contribute in the region's stability and development, Janelidze said the 2017-2019 Tripartite Sectoral Cooperation Action Plan would constitute the framework for cooperation over the next two years.

Janelidze also stressed that work on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Project is ongoing and that cooperation between the three countries is not limited to only transportation and trade.

He said that the three countries also support each other on international platforms like the United Nations.

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