Turkey urges China to respect Uighur rights, close camps

Turkey calls on China to close Uighur detention camps

Turkey calls on China to close Uighur detention camps

"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.

Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said: "The systematic assimilation policy of Chinese authorities towards Uighur Turks is a great embarrassment for humanity".

Aksoy also said Turkey had learned of the "tragic" death in custody Saturday of Uighur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit.

Turkish media said he was tortured to death in a so-called re-education camp in China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

The detention and "re-education" of as many as 1 million minority Muslim Uighurs in China's far west has been condemned by human rights groups and prompted calls for sanctions from USA lawmakers, who reject China's assertion that the camps are voluntary education centers that help purge "ideological diseases".

Turkey called on the worldwide community and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "to take effective steps to end the human tragedy in Xinjiang region".

The foreign ministry spokesman voiced Turkey's expectation from Chinese authorities to consider reactions of Turkish people over serious human rights violations.

Beijing has intensified a security clampdown on Uighurs in the north-western region of Xinjiang that was put in place after a bloody 2009 riot.

China's Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uyghurs.

China stepped up its restrictions on the region in the past two years, banning men from growing beards and women from wearing veils and introducing what many experts see as the world's most extensive electronic surveillance program, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Last week, rights activists urged European and Muslim nations to take the lead in establishing a United Nations investigation into China's detention and "forced indoctrination" of up to 1 million Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language, as well as other Muslims in northwestern Xinjiang province.

Heyit had been detained in Urumqi, in 2017 without being charged with any crime and sentenced to 8 years in prison.

According to a 117-page report, the Chinese government conducted "mass arbitrary detention, torture and mistreatment" of Uighur Turks in the region.

Abdurrehim Heyit, an Uighur poet and a musician renowned with his songs narrating the Uighur history and culture was born in Kashgar city of Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, in 1964.

He was in prison when he died.

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