ISTANBUL (TURKISH JOURNAL) – By Janet Ekstract -The Turkish government has called on the international community and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to take action on China’s continual internment of Uighur Turks as well as other Muslims in Xinjiang province.
Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy spoke to the press on February 9 calling out China in a statement: “The policy of systematic assimilation against the Uighur Turks carried out by the authorities of China is a great shame for humanity.”
Meanwhile, a week ago, rights activists urged European and Muslim nations to get involved by calling for a UN investigation into China’s forced detention and indoctrination of close to one million Uighurs who speak a Turkic language and other Muslims.
Aksoy said “It’s no longer a secret that more than one million Uighur Turks incurring arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in internment camps and prisons.”
While China denies the assimilation accusations claiming to protect the religion and culture of its ethnic minorities – it claims security measures in Xinjiang are needed to counter groups who incite violence.
In the meantime, Beijing is up against rising international pressure over what is being termed a ‘deradicalization’ program in its far western province.
The Turkish government outcry follows the death of Uighur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit while in custody.
In addition, five months ago the UN warned China to end the detention following claims of prison camps. U.S. lawmakers had also called for sanctions against China amid the reports. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination cited their evidence in a report while the Chinese Foreign Ministry has steadfastly denied these reports claiming “anti-China” forces are to blame.
According to a multitude of reports and independent experts, the reports are credible. Former detainees who spoke to the Associated Press described the camps as places where they were forced to renounce their religion, beliefs, criticize themselves and their family as well as being forced to praise the Communist Party.
China is claiming Xinjiang faces serious threats from Islamist militants and separatists who they claim foment tension between the Muslim Uighur minority and the ethnic Han Chinese majority. U.S. lawmakers have appealed to the Trump administration requesting sanctions on Chinese officials allegedly tied to the mass internment program and “ongoing human rights crisis.”