By Islamuddin Sajid
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) - Pakistani schoolchildren on Friday thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his support of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 650,000 refugees, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the UN. At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in the Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.
The students voiced their appreciation of the president in over a hundred letters received by the Turkish Embassy in Islamabad, the embassy's spokesman told Anadolu Agency.
All the letters from the students aged 5 to 12 from the Lahore New Cantt Public School System, were addressed to the president, and have been painted by little students with different colors and words of affection.
"Mr. President; thank you for your kindness, you are my hero and 'I love you' as you helped a lot to the Burma Muslims," Asif Haider, a student of K-G class wrote in his letter.
"I just want to express my heartfelt gratitude and say thank you for doing the help in Burma, you did a good job, your effort and hard work is truly appreciated and we are thankful to you," Arham Ali, student of grade-7 wrote in his letter.
He added: "Thank you, is just a word but it means a lot, and I will also say thank you Turkey."
Another student Rabia Amber wrote: "We all appreciate your service to Muslims. You do such a great job in Burma for Muslims thank you."
The students painted all the letters with the heading: "Mr. President Tayyip Erdogan, we love you and you are our hero."
The newly appointed Turkish ambassador to Pakistan, Mustafa Yurdakul, thanked the schoolchildren for their letters to the Turkish president and vowed that his country would continue to support Rohingya Muslims.
"Receiving these meaningful letters from our Pakistani brothers and sisters made us very happy and proud. Turkey will continue to support Rohingya Muslims and people suffering all over the world on the basis of its humanitarian diplomacy," Mustafa Yurdakul said in his statement.
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.
In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said that the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.