China protests Turkey’s settlement of Muslim Uighurs
Story Code : 471405
In a statement issued on Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry slammed the reported settlement of the ethnic Uighurs in the central Turkish city of Kayseri. The Muslims were among the nearly 250 Uighurs who had fled China, and were being held at camps in Thailand.
Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman of China’s Foreign Ministry, said her country opposes “any actions that aid and abet, or even support illegal migration.”
Last month, China reportedly banned fasting for teachers, students and civil servants in the Muslim-dominated Xinjiang region during Ramadan, when Muslims are supposed to abstain from eating and drinking during the daylight.
In a separate development on Thursday, an attack was reported on a Chinese restaurant in the Turkish metropolis of Istanbul, where the assailants reportedly smashed the windows of the eatery and urged its closure.
Turkey’s Hurriyet daily said the six attackers had demanded that the owner of the restaurant and its entire staff leave the neighborhood. Cihan Yavuz, the owner, said he would do so out of concerns for his fortune and savings.
Rights groups have long complained that China’s restrictive policies have led to ethnic tensions in Xinjiang, where clashes between government forces and locals have left hundreds killed over the past years.
Chinese officials cite security reasons for the operations in Xinjiang, saying they are faced with “terrorist threats” in the region.
The Uighurs are a Turkic ethnic group residing primarily in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in China, where they are officially recognized as one of the 56 recognized ethnic minorities.
Muslims in Turkey have close cultural and ethnic links to the Uighurs in China.