Tags: turkey | anti-china | protests | sympathy | muslim | uighurs

Turkey Anti-China Protests in Sympathy With Muslim Uighurs

Image: Turkey Anti-China Protests in Sympathy With Muslim Uighurs
Demonstrators set fire to a Chinese flag during a protest against China near the Chinese Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, July 5, 2015. (Osman Orsal/Reuters)

By    |   Monday, 06 Jul 2015 01:07 PM

Turkish citizens have held anti-China protests to speak out against China’s treatment of Muslims, specifically the Uighur people in Xinjiang.

Turkey has sent a diplomatic letter to Chinese officials expressing concern that the Communist government was not allowing Muslims to fast in observance of Ramadan. China denied Turkey’s allegations, saying that "Muslim residents' religious feelings, needs and customs" are understood, respected and protected, CNN reported.

“Uighurs live and work in peace and contentment and enjoy freedom of religion under the rules in the constitution," Hua Chunying, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told Reuters. "The so-called 'Xinjiang ethnic problem' you mentioned that has been raised in some reports simply does not exist.”

Turkish demonstrators are not convinced. China’s embassy in Turkey has warned travelers that Chinese tourists have been “attacked and harassed” in Istanbul, according to CNN. Protesters have even smashed the windows of Turkish-owned Istanbul restaurant, “Happy China.”

Despite Chinese statements claiming religious freedom in Xinjiang, local officials have posted policies that restrict fasting and practicing Ramadan on several school and government websites. Xinjiang’s Food and Drug Administration have told workers to sign an agreement to “pledge to obey political discipline to firmly ensure that families that have (Communist) Party members and students will not fast and will not participate in any forms of religious activities,” CNN reported.

“The Chinese communist government is being two-faced, trying to fool the international community," Seyit Tumturk, leader of Turkey’s World Uyghur Congress, a group of Chinese Uyghur exiles, told CNN. “What they do to test you is, if you're a student or teach or government worker, they give you water or food during lunch, and if you don't accept it, they start a process against you.”

According to Tumturk, Muslims who are caught fasting can face punishment ranging from fines to jail. Xinjiang also banned burqas in January.

The protests last week evoked concerns that the tension will hinder China-Turkey economic ties. Chinese companies have begun freezing some of their investments in Turkey, where tourism industry is also affected by the protests, said Today’s Zaman.

"We should show our protest with common sense and in a democratic manner," said Ali Kahyaoğlu, head of Istanbul Mineral Exporters’ Association, emphasizing that the Chinese market is important for Turkish stone exporters.

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Turkish citizens have held anti-China protests to speak out against China’s treatment of Muslims, specifically the Uighur people in Xinjiang.
turkey, anti-china, protests, sympathy, muslim, uighurs
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2015-07-06
Monday, 06 Jul 2015 01:07 PM
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