Uighurs In Exile In Turkey Are Worried About China’S Long-Term Rule

2021-01-31   |   by CusiGO

In September 2014, Ahmet ended a scuffle in a dungeon in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He spent nearly a month in a prison near the Malaysian capital before being deported to his country of origin, Turkey. There, the prison management decided to put him in a cell with dozens of compatriots. should. “They’re people with torn eyes, praying all day. They all have Turkish passports, “said Ahmet (who asked to hide his true identity for security reasons),” but the only word they know in Turkish is zeytinburnu. ”

Zeytinburnu is a working area in Istanbul with a large number of Central Asian immigrants and exiles. Ahmet’s roommate is Uygur, a Muslim minority with a distant relationship with Turkish, living in Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China. In 2014, thousands of Uighurs were arrested for illegally entering Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam: they fled China’s growing repression after a series of violent attacks and attacks. Turkish consulates and embassies in Southeast Asia have launched a semi secret rescue operation to issue passports and visas to Uighurs to prevent them from being expelled back to China. Currently, more than 50000 Uighurs live in Turkey, and they are one of the largest overseas Chinese in the community. A Diaspora now worries that Turkish protection will disappear with the extradition treaty between Ankara and Beijing.

In 2014, Uygur azizet Muhammad also studied in Malaysia. “At that time, many compatriots lined up at the Turkish consulate for help. Turkey has always been a second country for us; we have loved Turkey since we were young because we are Turks, too. ” The next year, the 35 year old activist decided to move to Istanbul, where he started working as an English teacher, but before that, he visited his family in China. This is the last time. He never came back, and he never had a chance. “I know they will stop me. In 2017, Chinese police threatened my family not to contact me. I can’t talk to her anymore. My father-in-law, a businessman in gurja, spent more than three years in a concentration camp. I heard two weeks ago that he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for financing terrorism. The reason is that when we were studying in Malaysia, he sent money to me and his daughter. For China, terrorists are those who criticize its policies.

Since 2017, the repression of Uighurs has made a qualitative leap (this month, the United States officially called it “genocide”), which Beijing defines as a vocational training institution. More than one million people, including the most prominent Uighur intellectuals, were held there.

In one of the camps, shamsier Ali thought his father was there. Four years ago, the 21-year-old Uighur student living in Istanbul had increasingly sporadic contacts with her family in Kashgar, China. “One day, my mother wrote a letter to my sister and me:” take good care of yourself “and blocked our wechat (one of China’s most popular social networks, also a SMS APP). After months of no news, a relative wrote to me and said, “your father has been sent to an education program.” Not long ago, another acquaintance contacted me and told me that he had learned from relatives that my father had been sent to a factory where slave labor was used. My father is always concerned about his daughter’s education and has never violated any laws in China, but all our Uighurs are suspects, especially if you go abroad. ” Over the years, she has been trying to figure out what happened to her father and other compatriots, and she has begun to worry about her own safety: “I know that as an activist, I am the goal of China.” Moreover, Turkey’s policy has begun to change.

“Turkey has helped us a lot in the past 20 years. “He has given many Uighurs Turkish citizenship and residence permits to others, but in recent years he has encountered greater difficulties in raising the voice of repression against China,” said Seyit t ü MT ü rk, President of the exiled Uighur national assembly The coalition in support of the Turkish government is composed of Islamist and ultra nationalist parties, which in the past were very active in defending what they called the “East Turkestan brothers” against the oppression of “Communist and atheist” China, including Turkish President Erdogan, He called the persecution of Uighurs in 2009 “genocide.”. However, Turkey’s economic crisis has led to a convergence of positions with Beijing. In the past 15 years, 10 bilateral agreements have been signed, ranging from nuclear cooperation to monetary loans, which have helped Turkish Lira in difficult times. Not only is China one of Turkey’s major trading partners (and has promised to double its investment in Eurasia), Ankara is seeking to become one of the key countries in China’s new silk road project. If that’s not enough, Turkey has chosen Sinovac, a Chinese vaccine company, to vaccinate its citizens against covid-19.

Apart from economic reasons, Ankara’s position also raises security issues. In the years that helped Uighurs get to Turkey, he also turned a blind eye to those who went to fight in Syria with the Turkish Islamic Party (PIT), the jihadi organization of Al Qaeda. At that time, the Turkish government tried to overthrow Bashar al Assad’s regime at all costs, but now the Syrian rebels and their jihadi allies in Turkey’s border province of Idlib are in trouble, fearing that the most radical will return. “It’s unfair to equate 20 million Uighurs with Al Qaeda with a few radicals,” complains t ü MT ü rk.

In recent months, dozens of Uighurs have been arrested in Istanbul. In most cases, this was due to issues related to residence permits, and almost all were released a few days later. But the way the arrests are made – early in the morning and by heavily armed agents – frightens the Uighur community. More importantly, the Turkish parliament plans to discuss and ratify an extradition treaty with China in the next few weeks. “If this happens now, what will happen when the extradition treaty is signed? “The truth is that we are afraid,” Muhammad complained

The Turkish government is committed not to extradite persons who have been persecuted for racial or religious reasons or who may face the death penalty if the treaty is adopted. But Uighur exiles don’t trust them, because Turkey’s diplomacy has also failed to take any action in the event of Turkish citizens missing from China.

Madine nazimi has been looking for her sister, mevrud hilar, for three years. In the past few weeks, together with other members of the Turkish Uighur community, he spent a whole few days in the rain and snow outside the Chinese Consulate in Istanbul, asking for information. They collected the documents of 5199 missing relatives. They didn’t get it. The Turkish Embassy in Beijing was also unable to get an explanation. Although they were born in gurja, Xinjiang, they gave up their Chinese nationality and adopted Turks after settling in Istanbul. In 2013, mevrud hilar returned to the motherland to take care of her sick mother. At the end of 2017, she was arrested for staying in Turkey and questioned, “what’s wrong with her? Is she still alive? “Charges. “No Muslim country raises its voice. I know that China is a very powerful country because it has a lot of money, but all mankind should be ashamed of China’s concentration camps, just as Germany is ashamed of Nazi concentration camps. ”

Uighurs fear that China will catch up with them, which is not just a theory of conspiracy in exiled communities. In recent years, Beijing has put pressure on Kazakhstan, Malaysia and other countries to extradite Uighurs. Turkey has also been accused of expelling such families to Tajikistan and from there to China.

A Uygur Chinese citizen was shot dead in Istanbul in November after admitting in a report on Al Jazeera that he was forced to watch his compatriots after Chinese police tortured his mother in Xinjiang. “The well-known Uighur people in exile are blackmailed by China. They either spy on their compatriots for money or take their families as hostages. Four years ago, the Turkish police foiled a plan aimed at me, “t ü MT ü rk explained.” these are all methods used by China to divide, intimidate and suppress Uighur nationals. “