TURKEY

First Turkish aid shipment arrives in Myanmar

FIRST TURKISH AID SHIPMENT ARRIVES IN MYANMAR

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) confirmed Turkey's first shipment of humanitarian aid arrived on Wednesday in Myanmar's Rakhine state. A1,000 tons of emergency aid packages containing rice, dried fish and clothing were delivered to the Social Services Ministry in Rakhine State at a handover ceremony.

As uncertainty and security concerns continue in the region, the aid will be distributed to conflict areas with military helicopters in coordination with the Rakhine State government.

According to Turkey's presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, Myanmar allowed TIKA to distribute the aid to Rohingya Muslims in the state on Tuesday.

In a written statement Kalin said that permission from Myanmar came hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's telephone discussion with Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi on recent human rights violations in Rakhine.

Tensions have been simmering in Rakhine between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

The move 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.

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. Rohingya representatives have said that around 400 people were killed in the crackdown.

In recent weeks, the government has boosted its military presence in Maungdaw, and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) claimed responsibility for attacks in which the government said dozens were killed.

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

The report found evidence of human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The ARSA said the attacks were in response to raids, killings and looting by soldiers.

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