Thousands of Turkish citizens rally in solidarity with Rohingya


A great number of Turkish people gathered to protest ongoing persecution against Muslim minority and the recent incidents in Myanmar's Rakhine state. The protesters holded placards reading "Stop the atrocities", "Massacre in Arakan" and chanting slogans in favor of persecuted people to show solidarity with Rohingya.

Thousands of people took to the streets across Turkey following Friday's prayers to show solidarity with Rohingya, a persecuted Muslim minority in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Several unions joined rallies showing support for Rohingya.

In Uskudar, one of main districts of Istanbul, a group of people joined a rally outside the Valide Sultan Mosque, protesting the recent incidents in Rakhine.

The protesters were holding placards reading "Stop the atrocities", "Massacre in Arakan [Rakhine]" and chanting slogans in favor of Rohyinga Muslims.

Sanliurfa and Malatya provinces also saw protests after Friday prayers to condemn the recent military action in Rakhine.

Ibrahim Coskun, on behalf of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in Sanliurfa, called the persecution of Rohingya as a "systematic violence against the Muslims".

Speaking to the protesters, Huseyin Polat, spokesman for a Malatya-based NGO Common Values Platform, said: "When it comes to Muslims, the entire world keeps mum."

In the southeast provinces of Diyarbakir and Mardin, people took part in the rallies, sharing brotherhood massages and voicing their concerns over the situation.

Mosques across the country focused on the plight of Rohingya in Friday's sermon.

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.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine's Maungdaw district, Myanmar security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel.

In a report, UN investigators said the human rights violations constituted crimes against humanity.

Fresh violence erupted in Myanmar's Rakhine state nearly two weeks ago when security forces launched an operation against the Rohingya community.

Bangladesh, which already hosted around 400,000 Rohingya refugees, has faced a fresh influx of refugees since the security operation was launched.

According to the UN, 270,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh as of Friday.

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