Sunday, August 12, 2012

Just Sharing: Turkish 1st Lady

Emine Erdoğan: Asma Assad a big disappointment for me

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (L) and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad (2nd L) share a laugh as Syria's first lady Asma Al-Assad (R) and Erdogan's wife Emine Erdoğan talk during the visiting Syrian president's arrival at the Bodrum airport in the southwestern Turkish resort of Bodrum on Aug. 5, 2008. (Photo: Reuters)
12 August 2012 / TODAY'S ZAMAN, ANKARA
Emine Erdoğan, the wife of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has criticized Asma Assad, with whom she previously had close relations, about the killings in Syria.
“I can't believe how she can remain silent in the face of what's going on [in Syria],” she said. “[She has been] a big disappointment for me,” Erdoğan added, speaking to journalists on her way back to Turkey from Myanmar, where, together with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, she visited Rohingya Muslims who have taken shelter in camps to flee from fanatical Buddhists.
Erdoğan is disappointed because she believed that Bashar al-Assad's wife was in favor of democratization and modernization in Syria. In fact, when the Syrian government resorted to violence against demonstrators, Erdoğan thought her former friend would not consent to what was going on in Syria and would leave for England to stay with her father.
Erdoğan sent a message to Syria's first lady in July or August of last year through Bashar al-Assad, who was still in touch with Prime Minister Erdoğan, for Asma to contact her. But she received no communication. Commenting on the silence of Assad, she said: “I couldn't believe it [that she didn't call me], because we were intimate, good friends. There was no protocol between us.” She stated that before the crisis in Syria the Erdoğan family holidayed together with Assad, her parents, children and some relatives without the media's knowledge.
Talking about the frustration she feels about her former friend, Erdoğan remarked: “I opened my heart to her. She has been a great disappointment.” She added that if Assad had requested help at the time she tried to contact her, she was ready to help. “‘Come to Turkey with your children. Live in Turkey, you would be under protection here,' I would have said.”

Felt ashamed of being human in Arakan

Erdoğan, who brought humanitarian aid to Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims, was deeply touched by what she witnessed. “Words fail me. I was ashamed of being human when I saw the conditions in which they live [in the camps],” she said of her impressions of the Muslims living in Myanmar's Arakan region. “Their main problem is security and lack of an identity card. They live in water, and they don't have any food,” Erdoğan said.
Thousands of Muslims are estimated to have been killed in recent months in the Arakan region where Muslims live, while more than 1,000 Muslims have had to flee their homes in search of security. Noting that Turkey is the first country that the Myanmar government has allowed to bring humanitarian aid to the region, “We need to entertain good relations to keep goodwill. We need to make them feel we are there for humanitarian aid,” Erdoğan commented, noting that she was surprised to see that Buddhist monks were also involved in the violence against Muslims

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