NAYPYITAW - Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Monday met with Myanmar's Foreign Minister and State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi during his official visit to the Southeast Asian country, an epa journalist reported.
The minister arrived in the capital on Sunday for a three-day visit that is Turkey's first official contact with the new Myanmar government, according to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Cavusoglu held meetings today with President Htin Kyaw and Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
He will also visit the Thayet War Cemetery in central Myanmar, where some 1,500 Ottoman soldiers - of the 12,000 captured by British troops during World War I - died as a result of forced labor and physical abuse.
The 48-year-old Turkish politician will then head to the western Rakhine state to meet with members of the persecuted Muslim Rohingya community, an ethnic and religious minority group that is still not officially recognized by the government.
Although Rohingya people have lived in Rakhine for centuries, they are considered 'Bengali' immigrants and some 120,000 remain confined in 67 camps where they have suffered various restrictions since the outbreak of sectarian violence in 2012, during which time at least 160 people died.
Turkey itself has grappled with human rights abuses against its Kurdish ethnic minority for decades, with the European Court of Human Rights condemning it since the 1970s over cases of murder, torture, arbitrary arrests and forced displacements of Kurds.
"While trying to improve bilateral relations as a fundamental policy, our country has also exerted efforts at bilateral and multilateral platforms in order to improve the situation of Muslims in Myanmar," a Turkish diplomatic source told Turkey's Hurriyet Daily News newspaper.