Turkey deports Uighur woman back to China - Uighur activist

Turkey has deported an ethnic Uighur woman back to China, Uighur activist Abduweli Ayup reported on Saturday citing Turkish immigration.

Ankara’s decision to deport Zinnetgul Tursun is related to a criminal extradition agreement between Ankara and Beijing, Ayup said on Twitter.

The reported deportation arrives following a visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier this month to China, where he hailed close cultural and economic ties and pledged security cooperation with Beijing.

Since ethnic riots in Xinjiang in 2009, China has increased the police presence in the Muslim region and established what it calls re-education camps for detained Uighurs. In these prison-like camps, guards reportedly force Uighur inmates to sing patriotic hymns in order to get food, and subject them to physical and mental torture, among other violations, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Turkey is the only Muslim nation to have regularly expressed concern about the situation in Xinjiang, including as recently as February, when Ankara described the camps as a “great shame for humanity” and called on Beijing to close them. 

However, Erdoğan during an official visit to the country in July, not only remained silent on the issue, but also said that Uighurs lead happy lives in China.

"It is a fact that the peoples of China's Xinjiang region live happily in China's development and prosperity," Chinese state television paraphrased Erdoğan as saying.

Some 35,000 Uighurs live in Turkey, which has been a safe haven for them since the 1960s, however, they are not granted work or residency permits.

Munevver Ozuygur, President of the East Turkestan Nuzugum Culture and Family Foundation, told Reuters in March that Uighurs in Turkey also cannot renew their Chinese passports at the local embassy when they expire and they are only given a document that will allow them to return to China.