Turkey’s ruling party votes down inquiry into China’s repression on Uighurs

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) voted against an opposition motion for a parliamentary inquiry into China's oppressive practices against its Turkic Muslim population, Euronews reported on Friday.

Aydın Adnan Sezgin, a deputy for the nationalist opposition Good Party, submitted the motion asking for an investigation into repression against Uighur Turks under Chinese rule.

The AKP voted against the motion while its far-right nationalist ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), known as an outspoken supporter of China's Uighur Turks, abstained from the vote.

After remaining silent for years on China’s treatment of Uighurs, Ankara called on China in February to close the camps, describing them as a “great cause of shame for humanity”. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu urged Beijing to protect freedom of religion and cultural identity during a U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on February 25. 

China has faced international condemnation in recent months over the internment of at least one million Uighurs in so-called re-education camps in Xinjiang. 

Uighur people are subject to intense surveillance, are forced to give DNA and biometric samples and learning Mandarin Chinese, and prohibited from criticising or renouncing their faith at the internment camps in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, according to Human Rights Watch.

Turkey’s relations with China have blossomed in recent years with Ankara negotiating massive infrastructure deals with Beijing, ranging from high-speed railways to nuclear power plants. China loaned it $3.6 billion to fund infrastructure projects last year, when Turkish lira hit record lows in August due to a diplomatic spat with Washington over the almost two year detention of an American pastor.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week attended the fifth summit meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in the Tajik capital Dushanbe and stated that Turkey aimed at deepening relations with Asian countries.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called on CICA members to explore a regional security structure with Asian features to realise collective security for Asia.