Rohingya family holds on to hope in Turkey


A Rohingya family in western Turkey is holding on to hope after a tough journey to freedom.

The family of four escaped persecution by the Myanmar Army and Buddhist mobs to reach Turkey's Manisa province, but ghosts of the past still haunt them.

"When my wife and I lie down to sleep we have nightmares. The cruelties our parents and siblings faced run in flashback," Muhammad Shafiq told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

Shafiq said his parents and siblings were burned alive by a Buddhist mob.

"Just because I am a Muslim they [Buddhists] broke my legs," he added.

The family, which includes Shafiq's wife Asma Royinga, and two children Muhammad Shahroukrh and Sahereh Royinga, aged six and three respectively, arrived to Manisa two months ago.

With the support of Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation, the family was placed in a house in Sehzadeler District, where it receives support from neighbors.

Help from strangers

Speaking about their journey Shafiq said that they first reached India.

"The Indian authorities refused to let us cross the border. If we went back, the Buddhists would kill us. We did not know what to do," he said.

"We came to Iraq using an illegal route, after a difficult 15-day journey without food and water. From there we crossed into Turkey," he added.

Shafiq said there is no work for Muslims in Myanmar and no schools to send his children to.

He thanked Turkey for its support and said his family received help from complete strangers.

"I thank the Turkish President, the people and members of Humanitarian Relief Foundation. They treated me very well. May Allah bless them," he said.

Since Aug. 25, more than 480,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation in which Myanmar's armed forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladesh, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees. The Turkish president highlighted the issue at the UN.

The 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.

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