Wang Yi Visits Turkey, Uighurs in Exile Raise Protest

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Turkey today for an advance meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu in Ankara, followed by a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan later in the evening. Xinjiang Uighurs in exile in Turkey and non-governmental organizations held a demonstration in front of the Chinese consulate in Istanbul today to protest Wang Yi’s visit.

According to AFP news agency from Istanbul today, about a thousand protesters gathered in front of the local Chinese Consulate General in Istanbul to protest. The protesters held Xinjiang Uyghur independence flags and carried signs with messages such as “China is fascist” or “China should close concentration camps” and “Stop ethnic massacres.

AFP said several NGOs as well as countries have accused China of cracking down on Uighurs in Xinjiang, in particular alleging that Uighurs are forcibly detained in educational camps and, according to testimonies of escapees, are subjected to various ordeals and repression.

China rejects such allegations, explaining that the camps are job training camps.

According to estimates, some 50,000 Xinjiang Uighurs have fled to Turkey.

Turkey was originally seen by the Uighurs as one of the main countries that could protect them in the long run in the face of China. However, due to relations with China due to economic interests and the need for Chinese vaccines to contain the Epidemic, Turkey has been accused of being silent and no longer critical of China. And Erdogan had accused China of ethnic massacres against the Uighurs in 2009. In this context, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Turkey, according to AFP. He was upset, according to a 62-year-old protester who protested and chided Turkey for hosting Wang Yi’s visit. China is accused of causing much suffering to East Turkestanis. Uighurs in exile in Turkey fear that Turkey will implement the extradition agreement signed with China in 2017 as a prerequisite for receiving Chinese vaccines.

Turkish officials have repeatedly given clear assurances that the country will not return extradited Uyghurs to China. However, numerous Uyghur exiles as well as association groups have accused Turkish authorities of privately deporting Uyghurs.

The demonstrators fear that the Turkish authorities are endangering their future and are worried about the future of their children. The demonstrators demanded that Turkey should question the truth about the Chinese camps in Xinjiang and urged Turkey to speak out.