Turkey has called on China to close its network of political “re-education camps” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), in a rare condemnation from the Muslim world of the East Asian nation’s persecution of ethnic Turkic Uyghurs and other Muslims that has increasingly drawn international attention.
In a statement issued Saturday, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said rights violations in the XUAR have worsened, particularly since April 2017, when authorities began to detain Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas in re-education camps throughout the region.
Aksoy said that the international community is increasingly aware of the scale of the camp system, where an estimated 1.1 million people have been held and subjected to what he called “torture and political brainwashing,” while those spared from the camps “are under heavy pressure.”
“The reintroduction of internment camps … and the policy of systematic assimilation against the Uighur Turks carried out by the authorities of China is a great shame for humanity,” the spokesman said, adding that Turkey had expressed its concerns on “the tragedy in the Xinjiang region” to Chinese authorities at all levels.
“On this occasion, we invite the Chinese authorities to respect the fundamental human rights of Uighur Turks and to close the internment camps,” he said.
Aksoy also called on the international community and the Secretary General of the United Nations to “take effective measures in order to bring to an end this human tragedy in Xinjiang.”