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Turkey’s Uyghur dilemma in the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Homajon

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Turkey’s Uyghur dilemma in the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Yet Ankara's recent alliances with Beijing are complicating historical bonds

Illustration by Giovana Fleck, used with permission

Turkey has traditionally been an ally of the Uyghurs due to strong linguistic, cultural, and religious ties. Yet Ankara's political and economic alliances with Beijing, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have complicated these historical bonds, divided Turkish public opinion, and reshaped Turkey’s official policy regarding the Uyghurs in the past years.

Having lost their political independence in the 1940s, the nearly 13 million Uyghur people living in western China in Xinjiang province have long considered Turkey a cultural and political haven. Turkey has become a home to Uyghur businessmen and students, as well as dissidents who have sought refuge to escape persecution and life in internment camps. Today, an estimated 50,000 Uyghurs live in Turkey to flee the Beijing-orchestrated deprivation of their most basic human rights, including freedom of religion, of movement and of communicating in their native language.

Until the early 2010s, the Uyghur cause was widely embraced in Turkish political circles. In 2009 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then prime minister, described the situation in Xinjiang as a “genocide” and sought to shame China internationally.

A sudden U-turn
But following a sharp economic decline in the aftermath of a military coup in July 2016, Erdoğan’s tone changed. The national currency depreciated 29 percent, dealing the economy a major blow, as relations with the US soured and Turkey swapped its parliamentary system for a presidential one in 2018.

The economy has hardly recovered since then. Credit rating agencies currently rank Turkey as a high-risk country. In the last three years, capital outflows have surpassed capital inflows. In other words, foreign investors are leaving the Turkish economy for economic or political reasons. While nearly a quarter of Turkey's government bonds were held by foreign investors in 2013, today it is around 4 percent. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has also dropped. According to the Ministry of Trade, from 2016–2020, total FDI in Turkey dropped from 12.18 billion US dollars to 6.67 billion US dollars. In due course, investors from the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Azerbaijan, and Russia all reduced their investment in the country.

China to the rescue: investment and vaccines
As foreign investors abandoned Turkey, China stepped in as an important player. Shortly after the currency crisis in 2018, China provided Turkey with a loan of 3.6 billion US dollars to be used in the energy and transportation sectors. Since then, the country has loaned an additional 6.6 billion US dollars to strengthen the economic, and commercial ventures between the two countries.

As economic ties strengthened, Turkey's policies on the treatment of Uyghurs in China weakened. Most notably, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made a statement in 2017 assuring Chinese counterparts that Turkey would not tolerate criticism against China, marking a shift in the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) policies regarding the Uyghurs.

We absolutely will not allow in Turkey any activities targeting or opposing China. Additionally, we will take measures to eliminate any media reports targeting China.
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
The last time Turkish authorities criticized the mistreatment of Uyghurs was in February 2019. In a written statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said, “more than one million Uighur Turks incurring arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in internment camps and prisons. Uyghurs who are not detained in these camps are under heavy pressure.” The response from the Chinese government was swift. China's Ambassador to Turkey Deng Li “warned” Turkey that such statements disturb Chinese investors and if Turkey continues its criticism, they would inevitably jeopardize bilateral economic relations.

In 2017, Turkey signed an extradition treaty with China during President Erdogan's visit to Beijing. The agreement consists of 22 articles and obligates Turkey to extradite any person wanted on criminal charges to China. Although China ratified the treaty in December 2020, Turkey is yet to do so. The Turkish parliament received the document in 2019. Many have linked the delay in ratifying the treaty with China failing to deliver the promised 100 million doses of China-made COVID-19 vaccines.

But China is notorious for getting what it wants through its economic coercion policy to punish countries who are critical of its policies — and Turkey is no exception. It was not at all surprising then to hear Erdoğan speak fondly of China during his meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing in July 2019.

According to the reporting by the Chinese media
Erdoğan thanked “China's prosperity” for ensuring “happy lives” of “residents of various ethnicities living in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” Turkey's president also emphasized Turkey’s opposition to extremism and willingness to increase mutual political trust and strengthen security cooperation with China. He also assured China that Turkey won't allow anti-Chinese activities in Turkey. In response, President Xi expressed China's appreciation of Turkey’s position and thanked Erdoğan for assuring that no power in Turkey would be allowed to take separatist action against China. The final show of this assurance is the exclusion order that Turkey presented to the President of World Uyghur Congress, Dolkun Isa on September 9, 2021. Despite a September 7 court order, indicating Isa should be allowed, Turkey barred Isa from entering the country on September 19.

However, the AKP's U-turn on China is not widely supported. According to a MetroPOLL survey from May 2021, 53.2 percent of respondents said, they did not think the government was responding adequately to China on the treatment of Uyghurs.

In addition to public response, the opposition leaders have too, voiced criticism over the ruling government's silence on Uyghurs — a narrative the ruling party has had a hard time controlling. In April 2021, when Good Party (İYİ Parti) Chairman Meral Akşener tweeted her support for East Turkestan, the Chinese Embassy in Ankara tweeted in response, “The Chinese side resolutely opposes and strongly condemns any challenge by any person or power to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese side reserves its right to a rightful response.”

Although according to Turkish media, Ankara summoned China’s Ambassador over the tweet, the Turkish Foreign Ministry did not issue a press statement about the summoning. While the ruling party kept it quiet, on Twitter, the response was different.

Journalist Gökhan Özbek, wrote:

Know your place!/This country is not a colony./And you are not the colonial governor to snub! You cannot implicitly threaten a single citizen in this country! Stay within diplomatic rules!/Do not target anyone in Turkey!”
Another Twitter user wrote:

China threatens and targets Meral Akşener and Mansur Yavaş, who defended the Uyghur Turks. A diplomatic note should be given to China and the Chinese Embassy staff should be declared persona non grata.
So far, joining AKP's silence, is its coalition partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The sudden change in the narrative on the plight of Uyghurs living in Turkey and their treatment in China, in exchange for economic incentives from Beijing, is indicative of the AKP government priorities and willingness to control media discourse to impose the narratives that best suit their political interests of the day.

 

大汉奸柳传志

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come to think of it, the 'Uyghur genocide' story is being manufactured by the western media in the exact same way they manufactured the ‘Armenian genocide’

I think Turkey, of all countries, should know how fake it is
 

Globenim

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Global Voices (publisher of this U.S. propaganda and media manipulation piece) is part of the U.S. terror regimes disinfo and propaganda network, used to inorganically promote fake "grassroot reporter" loyal to the U.S. regime and is directly funded by the U.S. regime via its Open Technology Fund front i.e. literal U.S. state propaganda, the inernational terrorist George Soros Open Society Foundation, U.S. Ford Foundation, U.S. MacArthur Foundation, by the U.S. puppet regime in Taiwan via the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and other U.S. disinfo networks.

Filip Noubel (author of this U.S. propaganda and media manipulation piece) worked for the U.S. terror regime and the inernational terrorist George Soros Open Society Foundation funded U.S. propaganda mouthpiece "Institute for War & Peace reporting" following the usual U.S. regimes textbook and running disinfo and slanderous propaganda operations to support inorganic regime change to the benefit of the U.S. regime or support already installed illegitemate U.S. puppet regimes and terrorists.
 
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Homajon

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come to think of it, the 'Uyghur genocide' story is being manufactured by the western media in the exact same way they manufactured the ‘Armenian genocide’

I think Turkey, of all countries, should know how fake it is
Erdogan was the first world leader who called the treatment of Uighurs a genocide, long before the West called it a genocide.

So if the Uighur genocide is really manufactured, then it was manufactured by Erdogan, not by the West!!!
 

Char

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Turkey’s Uyghur dilemma in the context of China’s Belt and Road Initiative

Yet Ankara's recent alliances with Beijing are complicating historical bonds

Illustration by Giovana Fleck, used with permission

Turkey has traditionally been an ally of the Uyghurs due to strong linguistic, cultural, and religious ties. Yet Ankara's political and economic alliances with Beijing, including the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), have complicated these historical bonds, divided Turkish public opinion, and reshaped Turkey’s official policy regarding the Uyghurs in the past years.

Having lost their political independence in the 1940s, the nearly 13 million Uyghur people living in western China in Xinjiang province have long considered Turkey a cultural and political haven. Turkey has become a home to Uyghur businessmen and students, as well as dissidents who have sought refuge to escape persecution and life in internment camps. Today, an estimated 50,000 Uyghurs live in Turkey to flee the Beijing-orchestrated deprivation of their most basic human rights, including freedom of religion, of movement and of communicating in their native language.

Until the early 2010s, the Uyghur cause was widely embraced in Turkish political circles. In 2009 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then prime minister, described the situation in Xinjiang as a “genocide” and sought to shame China internationally.

A sudden U-turn
But following a sharp economic decline in the aftermath of a military coup in July 2016, Erdoğan’s tone changed. The national currency depreciated 29 percent, dealing the economy a major blow, as relations with the US soured and Turkey swapped its parliamentary system for a presidential one in 2018.

The economy has hardly recovered since then. Credit rating agencies currently rank Turkey as a high-risk country. In the last three years, capital outflows have surpassed capital inflows. In other words, foreign investors are leaving the Turkish economy for economic or political reasons. While nearly a quarter of Turkey's government bonds were held by foreign investors in 2013, today it is around 4 percent. Foreign direct investment (FDI) has also dropped. According to the Ministry of Trade, from 2016–2020, total FDI in Turkey dropped from 12.18 billion US dollars to 6.67 billion US dollars. In due course, investors from the Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Azerbaijan, and Russia all reduced their investment in the country.

China to the rescue: investment and vaccines
As foreign investors abandoned Turkey, China stepped in as an important player. Shortly after the currency crisis in 2018, China provided Turkey with a loan of 3.6 billion US dollars to be used in the energy and transportation sectors. Since then, the country has loaned an additional 6.6 billion US dollars to strengthen the economic, and commercial ventures between the two countries.

As economic ties strengthened, Turkey's policies on the treatment of Uyghurs in China weakened. Most notably, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made a statement in 2017 assuring Chinese counterparts that Turkey would not tolerate criticism against China, marking a shift in the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) policies regarding the Uyghurs.


The last time Turkish authorities criticized the mistreatment of Uyghurs was in February 2019. In a written statement, Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hami Aksoy said, “more than one million Uighur Turks incurring arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in internment camps and prisons. Uyghurs who are not detained in these camps are under heavy pressure.” The response from the Chinese government was swift. China's Ambassador to Turkey Deng Li “warned” Turkey that such statements disturb Chinese investors and if Turkey continues its criticism, they would inevitably jeopardize bilateral economic relations.

In 2017, Turkey signed an extradition treaty with China during President Erdogan's visit to Beijing. The agreement consists of 22 articles and obligates Turkey to extradite any person wanted on criminal charges to China. Although China ratified the treaty in December 2020, Turkey is yet to do so. The Turkish parliament received the document in 2019. Many have linked the delay in ratifying the treaty with China failing to deliver the promised 100 million doses of China-made COVID-19 vaccines.

But China is notorious for getting what it wants through its economic coercion policy to punish countries who are critical of its policies — and Turkey is no exception. It was not at all surprising then to hear Erdoğan speak fondly of China during his meeting with President Xi Jinping in Beijing in July 2019.

According to the reporting by the Chinese media
Erdoğan thanked “China's prosperity” for ensuring “happy lives” of “residents of various ethnicities living in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” Turkey's president also emphasized Turkey’s opposition to extremism and willingness to increase mutual political trust and strengthen security cooperation with China. He also assured China that Turkey won't allow anti-Chinese activities in Turkey. In response, President Xi expressed China's appreciation of Turkey’s position and thanked Erdoğan for assuring that no power in Turkey would be allowed to take separatist action against China. The final show of this assurance is the exclusion order that Turkey presented to the President of World Uyghur Congress, Dolkun Isa on September 9, 2021. Despite a September 7 court order, indicating Isa should be allowed, Turkey barred Isa from entering the country on September 19.

However, the AKP's U-turn on China is not widely supported. According to a MetroPOLL survey from May 2021, 53.2 percent of respondents said, they did not think the government was responding adequately to China on the treatment of Uyghurs.

In addition to public response, the opposition leaders have too, voiced criticism over the ruling government's silence on Uyghurs — a narrative the ruling party has had a hard time controlling. In April 2021, when Good Party (İYİ Parti) Chairman Meral Akşener tweeted her support for East Turkestan, the Chinese Embassy in Ankara tweeted in response, “The Chinese side resolutely opposes and strongly condemns any challenge by any person or power to China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese side reserves its right to a rightful response.”

Although according to Turkish media, Ankara summoned China’s Ambassador over the tweet, the Turkish Foreign Ministry did not issue a press statement about the summoning. While the ruling party kept it quiet, on Twitter, the response was different.

Journalist Gökhan Özbek, wrote:


Another Twitter user wrote:


So far, joining AKP's silence, is its coalition partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

The sudden change in the narrative on the plight of Uyghurs living in Turkey and their treatment in China, in exchange for economic incentives from Beijing, is indicative of the AKP government priorities and willingness to control media discourse to impose the narratives that best suit their political interests of the day.

Turks are still very friendly to Chinese people, not as stated in the media. Of course, Turkey is a tourist destination and they are friendly to all foreigners.

The Turkish customs will not solicit bribes from the Chinese, and the Turkish police have not looked for reasons to fine the Chinese or Make things difficult for the Chinese.

So I think there are not many Turks who really care about Uyghurs and believe the lies of the media and politicians.
 

Homajon

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Global Voices (publisher of this U.S. propaganda and media manipulation piece) is part of the U.S. terror regimes disinfo and propaganda network, used to inorganically promote fake "grassroot reporter" loyal to the U.S. regime and is directly funded by the U.S. regime via its Open Technology Fund front i.e. literal U.S. state propaganda, the inernational terrorist George Soros Open Society Foundation, U.S. Ford Foundation, U.S. MacArthur Foundation, by the U.S. puppet regime in Taiwan via the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy and other U.S. disinfo networks.

Filip Noubel (author of this U.S. propaganda and media manipulation piece) worked for the U.S. terror regime and the inernational terrorist George Soros Open Society Foundation funded U.S. propaganda mouthpiece "Institute for War & Peace reporting" following the usual U.S. regimes textbook and running disinfo and slanderous propaganda operations to support inorganic regime change to the benefit of the U.S. regime or support already installed illegitemate U.S. puppet regimes and terrorists.
Ok, if that is the only problem, then I can provide you with hundreds of articles from authors who have absolutely no connection with Soros and who still describe the Uighurs treatment in the exact same way.

So I think there are not many Turks who really care about Uyghurs and believe the lies of the media and politicians.
OK, if it is all lies, then their own president is the biggest liar, because he was the first one to talk about a Uighur genocide!
 

silverox

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There are a lot of misinformation in this article. Uyghurs have never been independent, they are constantly surrendering to different rulers. Uyghurs originally lived in the current Mongolian plateau. If they want to restore their country, they should find a much weaker opponent, the Republic of Mongolia. When the Uyghurs in the Mongolian plateau were destroyed by the Kyrgyz, they fled to China's Western Regions. The Uyghurs wiped out the Tocharians of Iranian descent, that is, they killed all the men and raped the local women. Achieved population substitution. This is why many Uyghurs seem to have East Asian characteristics, and many people seem to have Caucasian characteristics. After the decline of the Tang Dynasty, the people who ruled there were Tibetans, then the Xiliao founded by the Khitans from northern China, and then the Mongols, then the Ming Dynasty, and then the Qing Dynasty. After the fall of the Qing Dynasty, it was the Republic of China. During the Uyghurs in China’s civil war and resistance to Japanese invasion, Uyghurs may have colluded with the Soviet Communist Party to establish a short-term regime. In fact, this is separatism that is not recognized by any international law. Now the whole world does not recognize the illegal state established by Russia in Ukraine. No country recognizes the independence of the Kurds in Iraq.
This is a total treason and evil, and should be punished. They were lucky. At that time, China and the Soviet Union were friendly, and they escaped punishment. Everyone knows how the Soviet Union dealt with Chechnya, exiled all Chechens to Siberia, killing half of the Chechen population.

Uyghurs don't have any difficulties. If they do, it is their own trouble. I am a Uyghur online member established by Yilihamu, a Uyghur professor sentenced to life imprisonment。I often go to Uyghur online to see what Uyghurs are thinking. Some Uighurs said that if the Japanese killed all the Chinese during World War II, they would be neighbors with the highly developed and civilized Japan. Other Uyghurs said they were unlucky and ruled by a backward and barbaric country like China. They would rather be ruled by the Japanese and Americans. Uyghurs also despise Chinese culture extremely. They say that they have come into contact with Arab, Persian, and Russian civilizations, and they simply despise China's civilization. Other Uyghurs said that they are white, Caucasian, and superior race, and should not be ruled by inferior East Asian yellow races.
These words are all I saw on the Uyghur online forum. I once sent a forum text message to Professor Yilihamu, sternly warning him not to allow these racial hate speeches, or he would go to jail sooner or later. Professor Yiliham wrote back to me saying that he was not afraid of the Chinese government at all. At that time, China’s leader was the weak Hu Jingtao government, so Ilham did not worry about the laws of the Chinese government at all.
I think all the Uyghurs’ problems stem from their disrespect for the Hans and racial discrimination against the Hans. The reason is simple. Compared with the previous rulers, the Mongols and Manchus, the Chinese were in a civil war during the Kuomintang period, and their management of Xinjiang was very weak, while the Communist Party was too tolerant and indulgent towards ethnic minorities out of the communist national concept. Tolerance is good, but for a rebellious minority, tolerance is indulgence. Uyghurs are extremely discriminatory and disrespect the Chinese civilization, while the Communist Party’s local governments have long become civil servants. Civil servants all over the world just want to get their wages and don’t get into trouble. They worry about the troubles caused by ethnic issues and use continuous indulgence against crimes by Uyghurs to gain temporary stability. Ignoring the extreme Islamization of Uyghurs in the past 40 years, they continue to become more like Taliban.
To put it bluntly, human nature is shameless and lowly. If the ruler is very cruel, and then a little indulges in the management of the slaves, the slaves will be grateful to the ruler. If the ruler was very tolerant to the slaves at first, and then slightly strengthened the punishment and management of the slaves, the slaves would hate the ruler. This comparison is not appropriate, but there is no difference in the essence of reality. China’s biggest mistake is to be too benevolent and tolerant to Uyghurs since the day Xinjiang was regained, and in exchange for it was a deep-rooted discrimination and hatred. If China is like the Tibetan-Buddhists Jungar Mongolians, they demanded Uyghurs to pay tribute of wine and women, ruling them brutally. Then relax a little bit, Uyghurs will completely fall in love with and respect Chinese civilization.
Now you know why Turks and Uyghurs respect Mongolian Genghis Khan the most. You know, Genghis Khan killed the most Turks.
Now that the Taliban controls Afghanistan, I suggest that if the Taliban want to maintain a long-term rule, they must first strictly enforce Islamic law to make people fearful, and then gradually abolish the strict legal provisions, and use more tolerant policies to change Afghanistan. To become another tolerant Islamic country like Pakistan or the UAE, all Afghans will fall in love with the Taliban
 
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Globenim

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Ok, if that is the only problem, then I can provide you with hundreds of articles from authors who have absolutely no connection with Soros and who still describe the Uighurs treatment in the exact same way.
Combined with your response thats already enough problems to verify you are a not ignorant but just as much of a disingenious liar as the genocidal U.S. terror regimes confirmed paid shills blurting out these propaganda lies, disinformation and slander for a living.

"If I wanted I could".
Yet you chose to boldly insult our intelligence parotting U.S. state propaganda lies and slander straight from the horses mouth instead of hiding your colors behind your allegedly hundreds unknown and just as questionable other sources parotting the same rotten contents from the extensive U.S. disinformation network, as if that changes anything about the fact who invents, fabricates and spreads these lies and slander and that they have been at the core throughoutly debunked no matter how many hundred times they are repeated and recycled in another "report".
 
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Leishangthem

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come to think of it, the 'Uyghur genocide' story is being manufactured by the western media in the exact same way they manufactured the ‘Armenian genocide’

I think Turkey, of all countries, should know how fake it is
turkey is perpetrator in the Uyghur secession cause.
 

Homajon

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"If I wanted I could".
Yet you chose to boldly insult our intelligence parotting U.S. state propaganda lies and slander straight from the horses mouth instead of hiding your colors behind your allegedly hundreds unknown and just as questionable other sources parotting the same rotten contents from the extensive U.S. disinformation network, as if that changes anything about the fact who invents, fabricates and spreads these lies and slander and that they have been at the core throughoutly debunked no matter how many hundred times they are repeated and recycled in another "report".
With this argument, no matter what I post, you will always claim it is US propaganda. So it's not only Soros, anybody who writes about the oppression of Uighurs is paid by the US...

Anyhow, here some articles:





And the most important: The Turkish president Erdogan was the first to talk about a Uighur genocide, long before anybody else!!!
 

beijingwalker

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And then he realised he made a mistake and became China friendly. and he didn't join the west to condemn China over it, actually not even one Muslim country did. it's totally a western propaganda thing but Muslim countries and government known it so well, this western propagada campaign failed miserably among Muslim countries around the world.
 

chinasun

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With this argument, no matter what I post, you will always claim it is US propaganda. So it's not only Soros, anybody who writes about the oppression of Uighurs is paid by the US...

Anyhow, here some articles:





And the most important: The Turkish president Erdogan was the first to talk about a Uighur genocide, long before anybody else!!!
If you believe in the Western media, I can give you a lot of news about Turkey. You want to see it?
 

Foinikas

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come to think of it, the 'Uyghur genocide' story is being manufactured by the western media in the exact same way they manufactured the ‘Armenian genocide’

I think Turkey, of all countries, should know how fake it is
The Armenian genocide was manufactured? Excuse me?
 

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