Turkey tells China to close Mus­lim camps

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - As­so­ci­ated Press let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

IS­TAN­BUL: Turkey has called China’s treat­ment of its mi­nor­ity Uighurs “a great cause of shame for hu­man­ity.”

In a state­ment on Satur­day, for­eign min­istry spokesman Hami Ak­soy said it’s “no longer a se­cret” that China has ar­bi­trar­ily de­tained more than a mil­lion Uighurs i n “con­cen­tra­tion camps.” He said the Tur­kic Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion faced pres­sure and “sys­tem­atic as­sim­i­la­tion” in west­ern China. Ak­soy said Turkey has shared with China its po­si­tion on “all lev­els” and urged au­thor­i­ties to close the de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties and re­spect hu­man rights. The min­is­ter said Turkey had also learned of the death in prison of famed Uighur mu­si­cian and poet Ab­dure­him Heyit, who had been sen­tenced to eight years over one of his songs. “This tragedy has fur­ther re­in­forced the re­ac­tion of the Turk­ish pub­lic opin­ion to­ward se­ri­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions com­mit­ted in the Xin­jiang re­gion,” Ak­soy said.

“We ex­pect this le­git­i­mate re­sponse to be taken into ac­count by the Chi­nese au­thor­i­ties. We re­spect­fully com­mem­o­rate Ab­dure­him Heyit and all our kins­men who lost their lives de­fend­ing their Turk­ish and Mus­lim iden­tity,” Ak­soy said.

Heyit was a mas­ter of the du­tar, a type of two-stringed in­stru­ment with a long neck that is found in Iran and through­out Cen­tral Asia. His de­ten­tion was con­sid­ered indica­tive of China’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to crack down on Uighur in­tel­lec­tu­als and cul­tural fig­ures in an ef­fort some say to erad­i­cate a sep­a­rate Uighur lan­guage and iden­tity.

Heyit’s death could not be in­de­pen­dently con­firmed.

China’s Em­bassy in Ankara called Ak­soy’s com­ments “com­pletely un­ac­cept­able” in a lengthy re­sponse posted on its web­site that de­fended its poli­cies in the north­west­ern re­gion of Xin­jiang, the Uighur home­land.

REUTERS

Strong winds on Sun­day fanned for­est fires that have been burn­ing for a week through New Zealand’s South Is­land, forc­ing thou­sands of people from their homes, with more res­i­dents ex­pected to flee. The Pi­geon Val­ley fire cov­ered 5,700 acres with a 25 km perime­ter.

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