Erdogan stated that Uyghurs should live peacefully as “equal Chinese citizens”, adding that Turkey respects China’s sovereignty.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told Chinese President Xi Jinping that it is important to Turkey for Uighur Muslims to live peacefully as “equal Chinese citizens”, but that Turkey respects China’s national sovereignty.
According to a statement from the Turkish Presidential Palace, Erdogan made the above comments during a telephone conversation with Xi Jinping on Tuesday, during which the two leaders discussed bilateral and regional issues.
United Nations experts and human rights organizations estimate that more than one million people have been detained in the huge concentration camp system in the Xinjiang region of western China in recent years, mainly Turkic-speaking Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.
China initially denied the existence of these camps, but later stated that they were career centers aimed at combating “extremism.” It denies all allegations of abuse.
“Erdogan pointed out that the Uyghur Turks live in prosperity and peace as equal citizens of China, which is very important to Turkey. He expressed Turkey’s respect for China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Turkish president said in a statement.
According to the statement, Erdogan told Xi Jinping that the commercial and diplomatic relations between Turkey and China have great potential, and the leaders of the two countries discussed energy, trade, transportation, and health.
According to Anadolu News Agency, he also stated that they hope to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkey and China in a way that is “worthy of the deep-rooted friendship between the two countries”.
After the two countries reached an extradition treaty last year, some of the 40,000 Uighurs living in Turkey criticized Ankara’s attitude towards China. The Turkish Foreign Minister stated in March that the agreement is similar to that between Turkey and other countries, and denied that it would lead to the deportation of Uyghurs to China.
hundreds of Uighurs protest During a visit to Ankara in March, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi opposed the treatment of their ethnic relatives in China.
A report issued by Human Rights Watch in April stated that China is Committed crimes against humanity Treat Xinjiang Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.
The report recorded a series of “abuse”, which also included enforced disappearance, mass surveillance, family separation, forced return to China, forced labor, sexual violence, and violations of reproductive rights.
Some Turkish opposition leaders accused the Turkish government of ignoring the rights of Uyghurs in order to support other interests with China. The government denied this.
In April, Turkey summoned the Chinese ambassador after the Chinese Embassy stated that it had the right to respond to Turkish opposition leaders who criticized China’s treatment of Uighurs.