A Turkish delegation led by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Thursday held talks with Myanmar leaders on boosting bilateral relations as well as the plight of Rohingya Muslims in that South Asian country.
The delegation that includes Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's spouse and daughter, several Deputies and bureaucrats was received by President Thein Sein who expressed pleasure over Turkey opening an Embassy in his country.
He told the delegation that Myanmar would also open an Embassy in Ankara as soon as possible, Turkish media reported.
Davutoglu met with his Myanmar counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin in capital Naypyidaw during which he said his visit had been the first high-level one from Turkey to Myanmar. Davutoglu is also scheduled to meet Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Davutoglu later told reporters that they arrived in Myanmar to boost bilateral relations and to visit Arakan where the Rohingya Muslims faced large scale violence from extremist Buddhists. "We would like to carry on with both of our aims," he said.
Davutoglu said Myanmar granting entry to the delegation reflected Turkey's influence in the international field. "Myanmar did not do the same for any other countries. Our Ambassador worked hard," the reports quoted him as saying.
He said Myanmar was allowing only the United Nations and its staff to get into the Arakan region. A state of emergency has been declared in Arakan province following clashes between Buddhists and Muslims, and troops deployed to restore peace.
Replying to questions on his Myanmar trip, Davutoglu said it was the first high-level visit between Turkey and Myanmar. He added that they could see Myanmar's government opening up to the world step by step.
Davutoglu also said he had asked the Turkish Ambassador to Myanmar to find out the graves of the 1,500 Turkish soldiers who were taken to Myanmar from Çanakkale and Egypt during World War I and were killed there. "I am following very closely the graveyard issue. We are greatly indebted to those soldiers," he said adding he had written to the envoy regarding the martyrs' graveyard.
Davutoglu said the Ambassador had also been directed to make contacts with the Muslims in Arakan for giving them aid brought by the delegation. "At the moment our first aim is to set up good relationships with the government in Myanmar, then distribute humanitarian aid."
Davutoglu said what the Western world could do for the Rohingya Muslims was limited and said that Turkey would ask Indonesia to cooperate with it regarding the Rohingya Muslims under the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Meanwhile, the Turkish Prime Ministry's Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said it had raised TL 2.1 million ($1.175 million) in aid for Myanmar Muslims, who were facing violence and discrimination.
by RTT Staff Writer
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