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PRESS RELEASE: World Uyghur Congress Deeply Troubled by Türkiye’s Interior Minister’s Remarks

PRESS RELEASE: World Uyghur Congress Deeply Troubled by Türkiye’s Interior Minister’s Remarks

PRESS RELEASE – for immediate release
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

On 22 May, Türkiye’s Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu stated in an interview with CNN Türkiye that the US is trying to exert control over Türkiye’s domestic politics and pressure China through the Uyghurs. The World Uyghur Congress is deeply troubled by Minister Soylu’s statement, which only reiterates the Chinese official narrative and instrumentalises the Uyghur genocide.

“It is regrettable that Minister Soylu has politicised the Uyghur genocide in the midst of national elections.”, says WUC President Dolkun Isa. “The human rights violations committed by China should be a concern to everyone, including Türkiye. This is not an issue to advance political agendas, this is a human issue.’’

Türkiye hosts one of the largest Uyghur diaspora communities in the world, with approximately 50,000 Uyghurs who fled the oppressive regime in China.  Türkiye has been a key ally in the international fora and consistently condemned  China’s repressive policies several times at the UN Human Rights Council. In January 2023, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticised the Chinese government amidst tensions in the country’s bilateral relations. 

The wide range of abuses has been documented by several UN bodies, including the OHCHR, in its August 2022 Report, confirming that the violations ‘may constitute crimes against humanity’. In November 2022, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) issued an urgent decision reminding the international community’s legal obligation to end these atrocities. Over 40 UN Special Rapporteurs have even publicly called – on three occasions since 2020 – for a UN inquiry into grave human rights violations in China, raising deep concern at the ‘collective ‘repression of the population.’ In December 2021, the Independent Uyghur Tribunal confirmed in its final judgement that these violations were acts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

The WUC strongly opposes any politicisation of genocide and reminds once again of the responsibility of the international community to take meaningful and concrete action to end it, including by the Western and Global South actors.