Turkey no longer safe for Erdoğan-abandoned Uighurs - analyst

Turkey is no longer a safe place for Uighurs as Turkish government becomes increasingly dependent on China economically, Kuzzat Altay, the president of the Uighur American Association wrote for Foreign Policy magazine on Tuesday.

In the recent years, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has turned his face to Russia and China as his authoritarian efforts to remain in power in his country, Altay said, which has distanced him from the liberal democracies.

This has resulted in a transformation of Ankara’s policy towards Uighurs and Turkey’s status from a safe haven to a place of imposing oppression, the analyst wrote.

Beijing has been accused by human rights groups of keeping its over 1 million Uighur Muslim population in detention centres, which has been described by Uighur activists as “21st century concentration camps”. China has denied accusations of mistreatment against the group.

Erdoğan in 2009, called China’s treatment of Uighurs a “genocide,” while as recently as February 2019, Ankara described the camps as a “great shame for humanity” and called on Beijing to close them. 

“A Turkish government that was supposed to offer them freedom is now raiding Uighur homes, arresting hundreds of people, and coordinating deportations with Beijing,” Altay said.

The Chinese parliament ratified on Dec. 26, an extradition treaty signed in 2017 with Ankara, that Beijing calls a counterterrorism partnership, raising concerns among the 50,000-strong Uighur community in Turkey. The Turkish government has yet to approve the agreement.






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