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Turkish NGOs hold in absentia funerals for Rakhine dead

Turkish groups pray for civilian dead in Myanmar crisis

Turkish NGOs hold in absentia funerals for Rakhine dead


Members of a number of Turkish NGOs gathered Wednesday after noon prayers in Ankara to perform funeral rites in absentia for civilians killed during security operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Members of the Ozgur-Der Association, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) and the Anatolian Youth Foundation (AGD) gathered in Ankara’s Haci Bayram Mosque.

The group chanted “Muslims! Don’t sleep and support your brothers!” and waved banners reacting to the violence in Rakhine.

"Islamic countries and the United Nations are producing no concrete solution other than interpreting the Human Rights Watch report or condemning the events in the face of the massacres, deportations and persecutions," said Emrah Ceceli, a member of Ozgur-Der.

“The Organization of Islamic Cooperation should play a more active role and the problem should be on the agendas of all Muslim countries,” Ceceli said and called for political and economic relations with Myanmar to be restricted.

Deadly attacks on border posts in western Myanmar's Rakhine state broke out on Friday. Later, media reports emerged saying Myanmar security forces used disproportionate force and displaced thousands of Rohingya villagers, destroying homes with mortars and machine guns.

The region has seen simmering tension between its Buddhist and Muslim populations since communal violence broke out in 2012.

A security clampdown launched in October last year in Maungdaw, where Rohingya form the majority, led to a UN report on human rights violations by security forces that indicated crimes against humanity.

The UN documented mass gang-rape, killings -- including that of babies and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances. Rohingya representatives have said approximately 400 people were slain during the operation.

*Reporting by Orhan Onur Gemici; Writing by Sibel Ugurlu 

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