The International Rohingya Center of the Rohingya Muslims opened a branch office in Istanbul to address Turkey’s overreaching support to the oppressed people.
The office will operate under the Association for Solidarity with Muslim Rohingyas. Abdullah Salama Marouf, the president of the center, and other notable non-governmental organization (NGO) representatives from Muslim countries participated in the opening ceremony.
Following the ceremony, a meeting was held and a short film was screened over the difficult conditions of the Rohingya Muslims living in the Arakan region of Myanmar.
Marouf told reporters that they were impressed with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s official visit to the region, which encouraged them to open an office in the country, believing the Turkish nation could support the Rohingyans.
Marouf also invoked a Turkish intervention in late May to the refugee crisis of escaping Rohingyans stranded at sea on boats off the coast of Thailand.
An estimated 1,700 Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants landed in Indonesia and another 1,100 in Malaysia days after human traffickers abandoned them in the Andaman sea in early May, according to United Nations (UN).
At the time, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Malaysian and Indonesian leaders and urged them to rescue Rohingya Muslims who had been stranded at sea.
He said, “Our heart reaches all the world and does not recognize any limits. We thrust out our hand to the offended and aggrieved wherever they live in the world.”
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also announced that a Turkish military ship had been sent to help rescue the Rohingya Muslims.
In addition, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu pledged a $1 million contribution towards the efforts of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help Rohingya Muslims. He also urged the international audience to improve the poor living conditions of Rohingya Muslims.
Rohingya Muslims have been discriminated against by the government of Myanmar for decades.
“The government and to a large extent Myanmar society perceive the Rohingya a product of recent migration from a kin-state, Bangladesh. They are consistently referred to as ‘illegal immigrants from Bangladesh,’” according to Chris Lewa, the coordinator of the non-profit Arakan Project.
Rohingya Muslims have been attacked by Buddhist mobs in recent years and more than 100,000 men, women, and children have been subjected to forced migration according to the Project.
“The conditions at home - and lack of job opportunities - have sparked one of the biggest exoduses of boat people since the Vietnam War,” the Associated Press previously reported.