Turkish opposition leader criticises China for oppressing Uyghurs

Ankara: – Repercussions of China’s extreme atrocities on the Uyghur minority are now being felt even in Turkey. The prominent opposition leaders from Turkey have strongly castigated China and have said that the atrocities against their Uyghur brethren will not be tolerated. The Chinese embassy has given a reaction over this, saying that it was within its rights to reply to the accusations levelled by the Turkish opposition leaders. Pressurised by the development, the Turkish government was forced to issue a summons to the Chinese Ambassador. Therefore, it is clear that the Uyghur issue is having its influence on Turkey’s internal politics.   

china-uyghur-turkeyThe Turkish people are connected with the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province because of their shared religion and language. The Uyghur movement in Xinjiang in eastern China, demanding separation from China, is also referred to as an East Turkistan Movement. Turkey has a population of nearly 40,000 Uyghurs. Therefore, there is anger towards China who is subjecting the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province to extreme atrocities in the torture camps. Turkish President Recep Erdogan also had raised a voice against this. But last year, in December, the Turkish government had expressed willingness to sign an agreement with China to hand over the Uyghur leaders from Turkey, supporting the Uyghur movement in China.   

A few days ago, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had visited Turkey. Some protestors had expressed support to the Uyghur population in China and had criticised China in strong words. Therefore, it is clear that it will not be easy for President Erdogan to set the Uyghur issue aside while developing relations with China. Intense repercussions of this are still being felt in Turkey. Mansur Yavaş, the Mayor of Ankara, lashed out at China over this issue.   

Mansur Yavaş said, ‘We cannot be quiet while our Uyghur brothers face atrocities and make sacrifices in China.’ Presidential elections will be held in Turkey in 2023. Some parties have formed CHC front against President Erdogan. Mansur Yavaş, the current Mayor of Ankara, is considered to be the leader of the coalition. Therefore, a lot of political importance is attached to the criticism made by him.   

Along with Mansur Yavaş, Meral Aksener, leader of the IYI party in Turkey, also showered vitriolic criticism on China for atrocities perpetrated against the Uyghurs. An acrid reaction has been received from the Chinese embassy over the criticism made by Yavaş and Aksener. Liu Shaobin, Chinese Ambassador to Turkey, warned that they have the right to reply to the criticism made by the Turkish opposition leaders. Whereas, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian had criticised that some from Turkey are strengthening separatism in China.   

Zhao Lijian had said, ‘We expect that the Turkish people will view the Chinese efforts for preserving its sovereignty and integrity in a correct and realistic perspective.’ Turkish reactions are being received even over this. The Erdogan government was forced to take cognisance of the threat-like warning issued by the Chinese embassy to the Turkish opposition leaders. It is reported that the Turkish government issued a summons to the Chinese Ambassador. But the matter will not end here. It is becoming clear that the issue of Chinese atrocities against the Uyghur people and the Erdogan government’s support for China will be on the anvil in Turkey’s internal politics. 

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