Oct 07, 2010

East Turkestan: Ankara to Host Both Rebiya Kadeer and Wen Jiabao?

Turkey’s standing as a defender of the rights of Turkic peoples may be tested next week with Rebiya Kadeer’s intention to visit the country at the same time as the Chinese Premier – but could it also raise new opportunities for dialogue?


Below is an article published by Today’s Zaman:


The President of the World Uyghur Congress, Rebiya Kadeer, said Wednesday she wished to visit Turkey at the same time with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on October 8.


In an exclusive interview with the Anatolia news agency, Kadeer said that she was making all efforts so that she could visit Turkey on October 8.


I have been disappointed over the fact that Turkey would receive Chinese Premier Jiabao on October 8, Kadeer said.


Following the incidents of July 5, 2009, thousands of Uyghurs have been arrested (by Chinese officials) and we have not heard from them since then, Kadeer said.


After July 5, the Chinese government has been implementing "great pressure" on the Uyghurs and land belonging to the Uyghurs have been taken away from them by the Chinese authorities, Kadeer argued.


Premier Jiabao's visit to Turkey would facilitate an opportunity to Turkey to ask about the Chinese pressure put on the Uyghurs and encourage the Chinese to end the pressure, Kadeer stressed.


Following Turkey's remarks on the incidents of July 5, the Chinese government made no criticisms but sent various delegations to convince the Turkish government. If Turkey embraces the Uyghurs, the Uyghurs then would be able to continue to survive. If Turkey does not embrace the Uyghurs, the Chinese government would be successful in assimilating the Uyghurs and wipe them off the surface of the world, Kadeer underlined.


The Uyghurs are in a battle of death and survival. We are concerned with the efforts of the Chinese government to change the views of the Turkish people, Kadeer said.


I am seeking for ways to be able to visit Turkey on October 8, the day when Chinese Premier Jiabao will be in Turkey. I will try to convey, with the Turkish people, our demands from the Chinese Premier Jiabao. I expect the Turkish government to provide me the same privilege that they have granted to the Chinese Premier Jiabao. I wish to be in Turkey in order to tell the realities to the Turkish people, Kadeer also said.


On July 5, 2009, over 150 people were killed and approximately 1,000 others were injured in the riots which followed peaceful demonstrations protesting a fight between Uyghur and Han Chinese workers at a toy factory. Two Uyghur workers had been killed in the strife. Chinese government accused overseas Uyghur groups of provoking the incidents in Xinjiang. Chinese police said there were evidences that riots were organized by the World Uyghur Congress led by Rebiya Kadeer. However, Uyghur Turks living outside China said Chinese government pursued an assimilation policy against Uyghurs.