Turkey stands up for Uighur Muslims, tells China not to label them as ‘Terrorists’

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said that China should not label all Muslim ethnic Uighurs as terrorists.

UN personnel are of the view that a million Muslims are being held captive in camps in the Western Xinjiang region by China, where the country’s ethnic Uighur live. This region has also experienced violent disturbances. According to China, this unrest is due to an organized ‘terrorist’ movement, which is fighting for independence.

“Whether Turk, Uighur Turk, Han Chinese, Buddhist or Christian … it is not right to call all Uighur Turks terrorists just because one or two terrorists came from a certain ethnic group,” Turkish Foreign Minister said.

Mevlüt also talked with the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during Munich Security Conference. The minister said that he talked about the Uighur issue with Wang.

“Uighur Turks are Chinese citizens so our wish is that Uighur Turks exercise all their rights as first-class citizens. These are our expectations,” he said.

Mevlüt also criticized China’s controversial statements about Turks and Uighurs being linked, he insisted they had ‘ethnic, cultural, historical and religious ties’.
The Foreign Minister said Turkey was unwilling to use this issue as a political tool between the two like other countries, which he did not name.

The foreign minister’s remarks were cautious, unlike the foreign ministry’s spokesman last February, who labelled China’s treatment of Uighurs as a ‘great embarrassment for humanity’.
Last year, China offered Turkey to send a delegation to Xinjiang. This meeting could take place depending on the program’s details.

“It is not possible to send a delegation only for official meetings,”

Çavuşoğlu added.

Majority of mainly Muslim countries chosen to steer clear of public statements on this problem, for the fear of offending China, an important trading partner.

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