Chinese vaccine’s arrival in Turkey delayed, as Ankara is forced to agree to extradite Uighurs to China

The arrival in Turkey of the Chinese Covid-19 vaccine Sinovac has been delayed after a resurgence in cases of the virus in Beijing.

Delivery of the vaccine has been put back by “a day or two”, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said in a statement on Twitter on Sunday.

The arrival ot the first shipment of Sinovac had been expected on Monday after the Chinese authorities completed the approval process.

In Beijing, entrances and exits to some areas of the city have been closed after a sudden increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the Shunyi district, which is located in the northeast of the capital and near Beijing Capital International Airport, Turkey’s DHA news agency reported on Sunday.

About 800,000 people will be tested in 92 laboratories in the region, DHA said.

Late-stage trials for the Chinese vaccine carried out in Turkey have proven 91.25 percent effective, according to the Turkish authorities. The first batch of Sinovac vaccines will be made up of three million doses.

The agreement by China to dispatch the vaccine came as Chinese People's Congress ratified an extradition agreement with Turkey that will affect members of the Uighur minority. The deal will allow for the return of terrorist suspects to China from Turkey, journaltr.com reported on Sunday, after Ankara also approves it when parliament opens in late January.

World Uighur Congress spokesperson Dilxat Raxit said that the agreement would cause panic among Uighurs who have fled China and do not yet have Turkish citizenship.

Beijing has put economic pressure on Ankara for the ratification of the agreement, according to Raxit.

“We are calling on the Turkish government to prevent this agreement from becoming a tool of persecution,” he said.

Since ethnic riots in Xinjiang in 2009, China has increased the police presence in the region and established what it calls re-education camps for around 1.5 million Uighurs, a Turkic Muslim people.

In these camps, Uighur inmates are subject to physical and mental torture, among other violations, according to some media reports. The crackdown has pushed many to leave the country. An estimated 50,000 Uighurs have sought refuge in Turkey from repression in China.

In July, The Telegraph documented several cases in which Turkey had sent Uighurs to third countries like Tajikistan, where it is easier for China to secure their extradition. 

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