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ASIA >Turkey should look after Uighur Turks in Thailand, says head of Uighurs

Muammer ElverenBrussels

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Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uighur Congress, says Turkey should lend a helping hand to the 290 Uighur Turks that are kept in camps in Thailand and face execution if they are returned back to China, from where they came.

Rebiya Kadeer, president of the World Uighur Congress, says Turkey should lend a helping hand to the 290 Uighur Turks that are kept in camps in Thailand and face execution if they are returned back to China, from where they came.

Turkey should look after the 290 Uighur Turks who are being kept in a camp in Thailand and face the possibility of being executed if returned to China, said the president of the World Uighur Congress (WUC) Rebiya Kadeer.

Kadeer, who is an Uighur businesswoman and principle activist for Uighur independence, said, “We are Turks. Our race, language, religion, culture, essence and words are one, Turkey has welcomed around 1 million Syrians, has provided various aid, mostly money, to people fleeing Iraq, Palestine, Libya and Somalia. It has done well, but Turkey should also look after the 290 Uighur Turks, which include children, women and elderly people that are being kept in camps in Thailand and face the danger of execution if they return to China,” said Kadeer. “Turkey is the only country that the Uighur Turks trust and hope from.”

Kadeer questioned why Turkey is not helping the Uighur Turks when it is rendering aid to all manners of individuals who have fled wars, by establishing tent cities and providing food and healthcare.

“We know what Turkey has promised China, but under these circumstances [Turkey] should look after our refugees in Thailand … [The Uighur Turks] are running away from China’s oppression and death, but they are not looked after. If Turkey is taking in so many Syrians because they are Muslims, then Turkey should lend a helping hand to the Uighurs, who nobody looks after, because they are both Turks and Muslims,” said Kadeer.

Kadeer accused Turkey of stalling the Uighur Turks, by showing that it is doing something when actually it is not. She added that she was a helpless leader and as the leader of the World Uighur Congress, she was trying to help the Uighurs that were in an economic and political desperate situation.

China had lashed out at Turkey for offering shelter to roughly 200 Uighurs from the western Chinese region of Xinjiang who were rescued from a human-smuggling camp in Thailand, Reuters reported Nov. 28. Thai police had found the group in March and Chinese officials had identified “dozens” of them as Uighurs.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency on Nov. 26 reported a request by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu for Thailand to send the Uighurs there, a move that angered China, which views their move to Thailand as “illegal immigration.”

Kadeer said Turkey had been refusing her a visa for the past 10 years, whereas most of the European countries had.

“As a Turk, I am still banned from entering Turkey, the country which I define as my second home,” said Kadeer, adding that some other members of the WUC were not allowed into Turkey.

December/22/2014

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