Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Osman Turan held a closed-door meeting with a three-member BNP panel, led by the party’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, on Sunday at the party chairperson’s office in Dhaka’s Gulshan.
Turkish Deputy Head of Mission Kemal Burak Temizel, along with BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury and Organising Secretary Shama Obaid Islam were also at the meeting, reports bdnews24.com.
This is the second meeting the BNP leaders have held with a Dhaka-based envoy of an influential country in the space of a month. The same panel had met the German Ambassador to Bangladesh Achim Tröster on Mar 17, a visit later marred by controversy.
Amir Khosru, who was at the centre of the controversy stemming from the meeting with Tröster, said issues, including the current political climate, the upcoming general election and the human rights situation, had come up for discussion.
“The Turkish delegation had asked about the BNP’s stance on the upcoming general election and whether the party will eventually take part in it. We were forthright about this topic. We told them the exact same thing we always say in public,” Khosru said.
The BNP leader, however, refused to reveal what the Turkish ambassador said in reply to avoid another diplomatic controversy for the party.
The German envoy in Dhaka had voiced his displeasure about being "misquoted" by the BNP on the state of human rights and democracy in Bangladesh over a month after the meeting.
When asked about the German ambassador’s view on human rights and democracy in Bangladesh, Khosru, at a post-meeting briefing to journalists, had said: "Everyone around the world is aware of the human rights situation and democracy in Bangladesh. There is nothing new to say here. As you know, discussions are being held worldwide about these things.”
"They are concerned about these things. They are a part of the global discussion on Bangladesh. Everyone is talking, including the European Union, America and Britain."
Terming the meeting as a ‘courtesy visit’, Tröster denied that he had said anything about Dhaka’s human rights records at an event at the National Press Club on Apr 20.
"They quoted me as saying that I was concerned about the human rights situation and democracy in the country. It’s not true,” he said.
The BNP, however, defended Khosru by saying that the standing committee member did not “misquote” Tröster, rather, the party had accused the ambassador of “misreading” the situation.
On Apr 21, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir had said: “The ambassador (Achim Tröster) did not say it correctly. Khosru didn’t say anything quoting the German ambassador.”
‘The ambassador mistook it as misquoting what Khasru said in general terms about our meeting with him.’