Bangladesh 'appreciates' Turkish aid in Rohingya crisis

Bangladesh's Ankara envoy also urges Myanmar's government to accept Rohingya back into the country

Bangladesh appreciates Turkey’s aid in dealing with the huge Rohingya refugee influx, the country’s ambassador to Ankara said on Monday.

“We thank the government and the people of Turkey for their very kind gesture [on the Rohingya issue] and we appreciate it, we welcome it, we value it,” Ambassador M. Allama Siddiki told Anadolu Agency.

Siddiki said a visit by Turkey’s First Lady Emine Erdogan to Rohingya camps in Bangladesh’s southeastern Cox’s Bazar district “actually unfolded the scenario”.

Erdogan, along with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Family and Social Policy Minister Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, visited the camps on Sept. 7, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya took shelter after fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

“It’s a very friendly gesture. And the people of Bangladesh have a lot of respect for these initiatives,” Siddiki said.

Siddiki also said financial aid was not the sole focus of the refugee issues: “This is not only an economic matter, it is a multifaceted problem. And it has social consequences; it has security consequences; it has environmental consequences.”

“Bangladesh has been facing and carrying this problem for a long time,” he added, saying Bangladesh had been involved in Rohingya issues since 1978. “Despite limitations, Bangladesh has been supporting these people for a long, long time.”

They should go back

He also explained the view of the government of Bangladesh, which is that Rohingya have been living in Myanmar for hundreds of years and insisted they had to return.

“Myanmar has been responsible for this creation of the problem. And Myanmar should be able to solve it. And these people [Rohingya] should be able to go back to their own homeland.

“They are not our people, they are not the people of Indonesia or any other country. So, they should go back,” Siddiki said, adding that Myanmar’s government should furnish the Rohingya with their basic human rights.

“They should have the privilege of having a dignified life in Myanmar as citizens of the country. They should be mainstreamed, they should be given access to education, health and employment. And they should be integrated within the mainstream society of Myanmar,” he said.

He also added that Bangladesh would “treat them humanly” and support Rohingya as Dhaka continued bilateral negotiations with Myanmar and multilaterally with the international community.

Siddiki said Myanmar had accepted thousands of Rohingya from Bangladesh in the 1980s and early 1990s following a thorough investigation and identification process.

“So, this it is already established that they are their [Myanmar's] own people,” he said.

He also noted that Bangladesh maintained a strong stance against all kind of terrorism and militancy:

“The government of Bangladesh has been assuring the government of Myanmar of its support towards curbing any sort of militant activities on its soil, if there is any.”

However, Dhaka “condemned and opposed any kind of attitude that you will kill or maim or torture unarmed civilians in the name of militancy, in the name of radicalization.

“You cannot do it. There must be a rational approach, a logical approach, to solve this kind of problem. You cannot kill people in the name of dealing with terrorism,” he added.