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Press Release: World Uyghur Congress Criticises Visit of Turkish Foreign Minister to East Turkistan

Press Release: World Uyghur Congress Criticises Visit of Turkish Foreign Minister to East Turkistan

Press Release – For Immediate Release 
03 June 2024 
Contact: World Uyghur Congress www.uyghurcongress.org
+49 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

This week, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan is scheduled to visit Beijing for meetings with Chinese officials, including Vice President Han Zheng, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and security chief Chen Wenqing. Additionally, from June 4-5, he plans to travel to East Turkistan, marking the first visit of any Turkish official since President Erdogan’s trip in 2012. The Turkish Foreign Minister’s visit comes at a time of strengthening diplomatic relations between China and Turkey. Moreover, after China’s security chief, Chen Wenqing, called for the “normalisation of counterterrorism policies” in East Turkistan at the end of May, the concerns regarding the upcoming visit of Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan have heightened.

“In the past, Türkiye has consistently voiced its condemnation of China’s repressive policies on the international stage. The upcoming visit of Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan is of particular concern, especially in light of China’s propaganda”, said World Uyghur Congress President Dolkun Isa. “This is also a key opportunity for Türkiye to raise its concerns directly with the Chinese authorities, and demand an end to the religious, cultural and linguistic persecution  of Uyghurs as well as the genocide.”

The World Uyghur Congress is concerned about the deepening relationship between Türkiye and China, particularly regarding its potential impact on the Uyghur diaspora in the country. Türkiye hosts one of the largest Uyghur diaspora communities globally, with approximately 50,000 individuals who fled the oppressive regime in China. However, this community faces growing harassment and intimidation by CCP-established transnational networks. These networks spy on Uyghurs, exploiting factors such as passport applications, financial struggles, and concerns for family in East Turkistan to coerce Uyghur individuals into serving as informants, remaining silent on the Uyghur genocide, or participating in pro-China propaganda efforts.

The World Uyghur Congress calls on Türkiye to not become complicit in the Uyghur genocide by putting economic interests ahead of human rights. The WUC also reiterates its calls on Türkiye to raise the ongoing atrocities against Uyghurs in its bilateral exchanges with the Chinese government, particularly during high-level meetings.