By Sorwar Alam
COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh (AA) - A delegation from Turkey’s ruling party visited Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh on Thursday.
The team, led by Mehmet Ozhaseki, former minister and current deputy head of the Ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, examined humanitarian aid activities of Turkey’s governmental and non-government organizations.
“Turkey did and will continue to provide support to Rohingya refugees,” Ozhaseki told Anadolu Agency during the visit.
He highlighted Turkish aid agencies’ activities in the camp, describing it as “a moral and humanitarian duty for Turkey” to help Rohingya Muslims.
Ozhaseki reiterated Turkey’s unconditional support to Rohingya refugees and outlined Turkey-based charity groups’ activities in the camp.
He particularly congratulated Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Turkish Red Crescent, Turkiye Diyanet Foundation and Turkish Disaster, Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and Istanbul-based IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation along with other Turkish aid agencies for their “wonderful and excellent job.”
The delegation visited a part of the camp where IHH built around 300 makeshift houses for refugees along with two tube wells and drinking water supply facilities, a mosque, a child care center and a women empowerment facility.
“IHH built a total of 9,260 bamboo-made houses that provide housing for around 50,000 people,” said Said Demir, deputy head of the foundation, told Anadolu Agency.
Demir went on to say that the aid body also established 13 tube wells along with a water distribution system, five childcare centers with the capacity of 500 each, a skill development center for 200 women and a mosque in the camp area.
“The foundation has been doing its humanitarian aid activities in the region for more than two decades,” he said, adding that IHH’s aids also includes local Bangladeshis across the countries.
During the visit, the delegation listened to several Rohingya family’s sufferings and brutality they faced in Myanmar.
“Today I called on the world to extend their hands not only to provide material supports but also to solve the refugee crisis,” said Zeynel Abidin Beyzagul, mayor of Turkey’s southeastern Sanliurfa province.
They also inaugurated a steel bridge in Kutupalong camp, built by TIKA. The bridge, which is TIKA’s Bangladesh coordinator Ismail Gundogdu called the best bridge in the area, links two camps, providing communication facilities for around 60,000 Rohingya.
A field hospital, built by Turkey’s Health Ministry and AFAD, was one of the destinations of visit. The hospital, which is about to complete its second year of operation, has been providing medical services for 100 Rohingya per day.
The 50-bed capacity hospital includes a pediatric clinic along with the region's only neonatal unit which welcomes around 100 babies per year. A Rohingya mother gave birth to triplet baby boys last week at the hospital.
The Rohingya family named their newborn boys Recep, Tayyip and Erdogan after Turkey's president.
The visit was accompanied by newly appointed Turkish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mustafa Osman Turan, some former deputies of AK Party from Sanliurfa.
- Persecuted people
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, fled Myanmar and crossed to Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA) titled Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.