Turkey continues critical aid to Rohingya refugees

Turkey's development aid agency is continuing to deliver humanitarian aid to the Rohingya, a group described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people.

Deputy Prime Minister Hakan Cavusoglu spoke to Anadolu Agency about the aid provided by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) to Rohingya refugees.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid and calling attention to the Rohingya plight. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even raised the issue at the UN.

Since September, more than 1 million people have benefited from hot food distributed by TIKA, according to the agency.

It has also provided winter aid to Rohingya Muslims who have crossed into Bangladesh to escape violence and persecution in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

Cavusoglu pointed out that tens of thousands of people were forced to migrate and that many died on their way to find safe shelter.

The military crackdown launched on Aug. 25 has seen more than 620,000 Rohingya cross from Myanmar into Bangladesh, according to the UN.

The refugees are fleeing a military operation that has seen security forces and Buddhist mobs kill men, women and children, loot homes, and torch Rohingya villages.

Food aid vital

Cavusoglu said the delivery of food aid was the most urgent step to help the victims.

At least 150 tons of food were delivered on boats and helicopters, he said, in addition to food packages to Rakhine's Pauktaw township.

In September the agency also set up two kitchens in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh which provide food to over 60,000 refugees a day, he shared.

Cavusoglu praised the efforts of TIKA to help the Rohingya as well as those of the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) and the Disaster Management Agency (AFAD).

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

In a recent report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

Source: Anadolu Agency