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China wants Turkey to back off criticism, support Uighur Muslim 'crackdown' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

China wants Turkey to back off criticism, support Uighur Muslim 'crackdown'

Rights groups say around a million Muslims are being detained in internment camps [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 May, 2019

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China has called on Turkey to support its fight against alleged militants operating in Xinjiang province after Ankara criticised Beijing's abuses against Uighur Muslims in the province.
China urged Turkey to back its fight against alleged militants operating in China's restive far western region of Xinjiang, after Ankara criticised Beijing about human rights abuses in against Uighur Muslims in the province.

China's top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi said his country enjoys its ties with Turkey, adding that China "has always respected Turkey's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and supports the efforts of the Turkish side to safeguard national security and stability".

"It is hoped that the Turkish side can also earnestly respect China's core interests in safeguarding national sovereignty and security, and support China's efforts to combat the 'East Turkistan' terrorist forces and safeguard the overall situation of the strategic cooperation between the two countries," he added.

China says a group called the East Turkistan Islamic Movement is responsible for many of the attacks in recent years in Xinjiang.

But many diplomats and foreign experts have cast doubt on whether the group exists in any coherent form.

Human rights groups say around a million Muslims - mostly Uighurs, but also Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities - are being detained in internment camps across the province.

Beijing claims the camps in Xinjiang are "vocational training centres" to steer people away from extremism and reintegrate them, in a region plagued by violence blamed on Uighur separatists or Islamists.

Turkey is the only Muslim nation which has regularly expressed concern about the situation in Xinjiang, including in February at the UN Human Rights Council, to China's anger.

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