East Turkestan: Turkey Calls China's Actions Genocide
Turkey’s official agencies have harshly criticized Chinese actions, while highlighted the cultural ties and solidarity between Turkish people and the Uyghurs.
Below is an article published by: CNN International
On Friday [10 July, 2009], Erdogan went a step further, announcing to journalists upon his return to Ankara from the Group of Eight summit in Italy that "the incidents in China are a genocide. There's no point in interpreting this otherwise."
Many Turks view the Uyghurs of Central Asia as fellow Turkic, Muslim brothers.
At least 184 people died in last weekend's violent protests in Urumqi, in China's far-west Xinjiang region, according to Chinese state-run media. The violent demonstrations also left more than 1,000 injured in the capital, according to government figures. Heavily armed troops remain on the streets of Urumqi and curfews are in effect.
The Uyghurs say they have been victimized and many of those killed in the violence Sunday [5 July, 2009] were Uyghurs. Uyghur religious leaders have condemned the violence, saying it is against the spirit of the Muslim faith and Uyghur tradition.
Several hundred Turkish and Uyghur demonstrators gathered during the past week to protest outside the Chinese embassy in Ankara.
In another comment widely reported in the Turkish press, Erdogan announced he would be willing to approve a visa for Rebiya Kadeer, an exiled Uyghur activist currently residing in the United States.
Kadeer issued a response on Saturday [11 July, 2009], which was distributed to CNN from her publisher and publicist, Kenneth Kales.
"I am grateful to Prime Minister Erdogan for his comment that Turkey will grant me a visa. I look forward to traveling to Turkey as soon as possible. The Uyghur and the Turkish people share close cultural and linguistic roots.
"The Uyghurs and Turks consider themselves as the same people. Uyghurs cherish our common language, customs, and spirit of freedom. We embrace the opportunity to meet with our Turkish cousins."
However, Kadeer was "not entitled to represent the Uyghur people," a former Xinjiang official said, according to China's state-run media.
Ismail Amat, an ethnic Uyghur who headed China's Xinjiang regional government, was quoted by the Xinhua news agency as calling Kadeer "scum."