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30.12.2012 17:58 News >> Turkey Says İt Did Not Authorize Delegation Visit To Bangladesh

Turkey Says İt Did Not Authorize Delegation Visit To Bangladesh

Ankara did not authorize a recent visit by a 14-member Turkish delegation to Dhaka to witness the trial of suspects accused of committing war crimes in 1971, said a diplomatic official to Today's Zaman on Sunday.

Ankara did not authorize a recent visit by a 14-member Turkish delegation to Dhaka to witness the trial of suspects accused of committing war crimes in 1971, said a diplomatic official to Today's Zaman on Sunday.

According to recent reports, the delegation visited Bangladesh on visas issued on arrival in order to lobby in favor of the alleged war criminals and did not inform the Bangladeshi government of their visit -- a move that has created diplomatic tension between Ankara and Dhaka.

The reports added that the Bangladeshi government has taken the matter seriously and that the on-arrival visa facility between Turkey and Bangladesh may be cancelled.

However, a Turkish diplomatic official, who spoke to Today's Zaman on condition of anonymity, denied the reports regarding the cancellation of the on-arrival visa facility, adding that the Turkish government had so far not received any such information.

"The delegation which visited Bangladesh was not authorized by the Turkish government. It was a delegation from a nongovernmental organization named the Cansuyu Aid and Solidarity Association. The delegation visited the country to witness the trial. The Turkish government has no connection to the delegation's visit," said the official.

The Bangladeshi government voiced concerns over the lobbying activities of the Turkish NGO delegation in favor of those standing trial and conveyed its dissatisfaction to the Turkish ambassador in Bangladesh, Mehmet Vakur Erkul, passing a diplomatic note to him expressing Dhaka's displeasure over the NGO's visit, the misuse of visas and advocacy for the accused.

Talking to The Daily Star, Bangladeshi officials said the government could have sent the NGO delegation back home but it refrained from doing so considering the excellent bilateral ties with Turkey and the recent exchange of visits at presidential and prime ministerial level.

The report further added that diplomatic tension has been created between Ankara and Dhaka over Turkish President Abdullah Gül's letter to Bangladeshi President Zillur Rahman calling for "clemency" for the accused on trial at Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal for the "sake of peace in society."

Turkish sources confirmed that Gül had sent a letter to his Bangladeshi counterpart. The same Turkish official stated that Turkey was closely following developments, including the trial, in Bangladesh.

Ankara summoned Bangladesh Ambassador to Turkey Zulfiqur Rahman a day after the Dhaka summoned the Turkish ambassador.

According to The Daily Star, Bangladeshi sources have said that the content of the letter from the Turkish president is not acceptable and that it is a clear interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh. (Cihan/Today's Zaman)



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