Dhaka has sharply reacted to Ankara over misuse of “on arrival visa” facilities by a NGO delegation, which visited Bangladesh from December 20 to 24 and reportedly advocated in favour of the accused under trial for war crimes.
The foreign ministry yesterday summoned the Turkish Ambassador in Bangladesh Mehmet Vakur Erkul and handed him a strong note of Dhaka's displeasure over the NGO team's visit, misuse of visa and advocacy for the war crimes accused.
According to official sources, a 14-member delegation comprising Turkish parliament members, political leaders and lawyers, arrived in Dhaka on December 20 without informing the government. And from their activities, it appeared to the government that they had come to campaign for the accused now being tried.
Acting Foreign Secretary Mustafa Kamal summoned the Turkish envoy to his office and wanted to know from him why the government was not given prior information about the visit of the Cansuyu Aid and Solidarity Association team.
The ambassador said he was asked by Ankara on December 20 to inform Bangladesh government about the NGO delegation's visit.
The team came here not to campaign for the accused, who are now undergoing trial at the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), the envoy said. Rather, they visited Bangladesh to know more about the country.
Dhaka, however, categorically informed the ambassador that it is concerned at the NGO delegation's visit and activities during its stay in Bangladesh, and it was not wise for Ankara to send the team by misusing the “on arrival visa” facility.
In its aid'e memoir (diplomatic letter) handed over to the envoy, Dhaka also said it was not wise for a friendly country to create confusion or problems. And it expects that Ankara will not repeat such incident in future.
Cansuyu Aid and Solidarity Association is headed by former state minister of Turkey Lutfu Esengun and the delegation was led by him.
During the five-day visit, the team members visited the ICT, met Law Minister Shafique Ahmed, Prime Minister's International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rezvi, Supreme Court Bar Association President Joynal Abedin, Chief Prosecutor of ICT Ghulam Arief Tipoo, defence counsel Abdur Razzaq and Executive Director of Ain O Salish Kendra Sultana Kamal.