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Erdoğan Vows Support For Jerome Jarre’s #LoveArmyforRohingya

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed Tuesday to support the Love Army movement currently focused on helping Rohingya Muslims.

Jerome Jarre, a social media phenomenon and organizer of the Love Army, asked Erdoğan for help on Twitter.

"We are asking if the Turkish president can help us with our Rohingya mission!" the Frenchmen tweeted, launching the #ErdoganHelpRohingya hashtag.

Nearly two hours later Erdoğan responded positively to former Vine and Snapchat star.

"We never turn down requests for assistance — wherever the people in need may be. We will support #LoveArmyforRohingya efforts through our aid agencies," Erdoğan said on Twitter, tagging Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), Turkish Red Crescent,also known as Kızılay, and Turkish Airlines (THY).

The #LoveArmyforRohingya campaign aims to raise awareness for the plight of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya Muslims who fled what they call persecution in Myanmar, the majority taking shelter in neighboring Bangladesh since August.

Jarre's campaign and idea of involving the president in #LoveArmyforRohingya initiative was supported by other French public figures, including comedians Omar Sy and Sebastien Frit, DJ Snake, and YouTubers Jhon Rachid and Mister V.

Jarre later tweeted that there apparently has been a "little misunderstanding."

"We are specifically here to distribute 100% of the donations directly to the Rohingya. With no agencies. No overhead costs. This is what we came here to do and did in Somalia. Is Turkey willing to donate to this?" he responded to Erdoğan.

It wouldn't be the first time Turkey and the Love Army teamed up to help people in need. Earlier this year, Jarre raised nearly $3 million for drought-hit Somalia. Sixty-five tons of aid for the country were delivered on a Turkish Airlines-donated flight.

More than 620,000 Rohingya left Myanmar for Bangladesh since Aug. 25, fleeing a bloody army crackdown against the Muslim minority. The U.N. described Myanmar's operation as "ethnic cleansing," while several rights groups said the army's actions could amount to genocide.

Turkey is already at the forefront of providing aid and calling attention to the Rohingya plight, with Erdoğan raising the issue earlier this year in the U.N.

Since the Rohingya crisis broke out, Turkish aid agencies and charities rushed to provide assistance to the persecuted people. TİKA was the first foreign body to provide aid to Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine state.

Turkey's first lady, Emine Erdoğan, visited Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in September, joining donation drives by Turkish charities.

Last week, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Recep Akdağ announced that Turkey would build 5,000 prefabricated homes for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, adding to the 20,000 homes already in the works. The accommodation aid will reach out to some 125,000 people.

By the end of this year, Turkey will also build two field hospitals and 10 medical centers in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, a border region that has become a hub for Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar.

Rohingya Muslims have faced state-supported discrimination in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar for decades. Though members of the ethnic minority first arrived generations ago, Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship in 1982, denying them almost all rights and rendering them stateless. They cannot travel freely, practice their religion, or work as teachers or doctors, and they have little access to medical care, food or education.

 

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