‘We are grateful to Turkey’ says head of East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association
By Cemal Asan AA
Turkey has given Uighurs the opportunity to publicize the plight of the minority group in northwestern China, the head of an Istanbul-based association said on Tuesday.
“We are grateful to the government of Turkey,” Abdulahat Abdurrahman, Secretary General of East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association told Anadolu Agency.
Underlining the close relationship between Turkey and the Muslim group, Abdurrahman said the “homeland” of the Turks was “East Turkestan”, the area otherwise known as China’s Xinjiang province.
Turkey denounced China’s mass detention of Uighur Muslims in a Foreign Ministry statement on Feb. 9, saying it was “no longer a secret” that more than one million Uighur Turks were suffering arbitrary arrest as well as “torture and political brainwashing” in internment camps and prisons.
“East Turkestan, where 35 million Turkic Muslims live, has been under Chinese torture since 1949,” Abdurrahman said, stressing that the world should not remain silent in the face of China’s “torture” of Uighurs.
He added that while UN reports pin the number of Uighurs held in Chinese camps at one million, the organization’s own sources indicated that a total of three million were being held.
The Turkic Muslim group has long accused Chinese authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.
U.S. officials and UN experts have additionally reported that the Muslim population in East Turkestan have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps.