A video released on a social media platform shows Emine Erdogan, the wife of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, burst into tears when she met members of the Muslim minority in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.
Emine Erdogan accompanied Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu as he left on Wednesday to observe the situation in Rakhine where fighting between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslim has killed 80 people in June, according to official figures.
Mrs. Erdogan’s attempts to stop her tears with a tissue were futile, when a man speaking in the local Roghinya language made his anguish clear to Davutoglu not only through a translator but also through his loud cries, which compelled the foreign minister to hug him, and made her cry even more.
Before his departure to Myanmar, Davutoglu said that the government of Myanmar reported the deaths to be around a hundred... but the Muslim leaders in Rakhine, with whom Ankara had been in contact, said the toll reached thousands.
The foreign minister and the prime minister’s wife offered hugs and around $2 million worth of humanitarian supplies. Myanmar generally allows only humanitarian aid through U.N. organizations but recently accepted the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to assist the Rohingya displaced by sectarian violence.
Human Rights Watch said on Aug. 1 that the Rohingyas had suffered mass arrests, killings and rapes at the hands of the Myanmar security forces. The minority bore the brunt of a crackdown after days of arson and machete attacks in June by both Buddhists and Rohingyas in Rakhine state, the monitoring group said.
Myanmar, where at least 800,000 Rohingyas are not recognized as one of the country’s many ethnic and religious groups, has said it exercised “maximum restraint” in quelling the riots.