China arrests 10 Turks who may have helped terror suspects

China arrests 10 Turks who may have helped terror suspects

Turkish officials have confirmed that 10 citizens have been under arrest in Shanghai, with two of them charged with “organizing people to illegally cross the border.”

Eight men and two women were taken into custody by local security authorities in Shanghai on Nov. 7, diplomatic sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Hürriyet Daily News on Jan. 14.

The issue went public after state media in China reported that police in Shanghai had arrested 10 Turkish nationals suspected of supplying fake passports to ethnic Uighurs from China’s far-western region of Xinjiang. The media described them as “terror suspects.” 

Another 11 people, including nine Xinjiang terror suspects, were also detained in November while trying to leave China, after paying 60,000 yuan ($9,686) for altered Turkish passports, the state-run Global Times reported. 

The newspaper said terrorism-related audio and video materials were found among the suspects and that some had been bound for Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. 

Eight of those Turkish citizens have been charged for “selling travel documents,” while two of them have been charged with “organizing persons to illegally cross the border,” Turkish diplomatic sources said, noting that pre-trial detention custody for all of them took one month, in line with the legislation of China.

Their file was sent to the prosecutor on Dec. 17, 2014 and they were eventually arrested on Dec. 24, 2014, Turkish officials said. The trial process is set to begin around Feb. 24, at least two months after the arrest requested by the prosecutor, they added, noting that all suspects are being held in a detention center in Shanghai. 

“The issue is being closely followed by our ministry,” a Turkish diplomat said, underlining that the Turkish Consulate General in Shanghai had visited the citizens twice since they were taken into custody.