Turkey has strongly condemned China’s treatment of its Muslim ethnic Uighur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, where these people are being continuously ill treated in the so-called ‘concentration camps’, which China says are ‘re-education camps’.
Terming the camps as a “great cause of shame for humanity”, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman – Hami Aksoy said, “It’s no longer a secret that more than one million Uighur Turks, who are exposed to arbitrary arrests, are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in concentration centres and prisons. We invite Chinese authorities to respect fundamental human rights of the Uighur Turks and shut down concentration camps.”
The President of Turkey – Recep Tayyip Erdogan had once accused China of genocide but had later developed diplomatic and economic ties with Beijing.
Aksoy was responding to the death of Uighur poet and musician – Abdurehim Heyit, who was tortured to death in the concentration camp in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.
Who are Uighurs?
The Uighurs or Uyghurs are Muslims of Turkic ethnicity who live in East and Central Asia. Around 10 million Uighurs live in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. They are one of the 55 ethnic minorities in the region.
They have been long accusing Chinese authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
What are these camps?
The entire Uighurs population and other Turkic language-speaking minorities in China have reportedly been held in these concentration or re-education camps.
Uyghurs in Xinjiang live under a full-fledged police State with extensive controls and restrictions upon their religious, cultural and social life. They are not allowed to own books about Uyghurs, grow a beard or have a prayer rug. Besides, the Government had also installed cameras in the homes of private citizens.
China refuses charges
China has denied all charges and said that these are vocational training camps where people come voluntarily. These camps are designed to provide job training and to clear people of any terrorist / violent attitude.
What U.N. Panel says?
In August 2018, a panel of United Nations (U.N.) experts said it has credible reports that over a million Uighurs and other Turkic language-speaking minorities have been held in the so-called “re-education camps” where they are forced to give-up Islam.
No support from other nations
Most of the Muslim nations have refrained from interfering in the matter as they don’t want to affect their diplomatic ties with China.
Request from Turkey
Turkey has called on other countries and the U.N. Secretary General – Antonio Guterres to take steps to deal with the matter and put an end to this humanitarian tragedy in Xinjiang.