Thai consulate in Turkey says no hard feelings over attack by pro-Uighur group
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
A man removes stones at the Thai honorary consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, July 9, 2015. Reuters PhotoThe honorary consul general at Thailand’s diplomatic mission in Istanbul has expressed “no hard feelings” over a recent attack following reports that the Southeast Asian country had deported 109 Uighurs to China.
Thailand’s Honorary Consul General in Istanbul, Refik Gökçek said he had “no hard feelings” toward his country.
“Some reckless people’s actions cannot be attributed to a whole nation,” he said, calling the attacks temporary and undamaging to Turkey-Thailand relations.
Gökçek said despite the “unfortunate incident’s” occurrence, the “countries would not change their attitude toward each other over some people’s actions.”
The diplomat also called the attackers uninformed.
“If there are human rights violations in China against Uighur Turks, then it is normal to protest it. I can support that. But you have to know your boundaries,” Gökçek said.
The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the attack in a statement on July 9, before sending out an alert to Thais living in Turkey, warning of possible reprisals.
Thailand’s embassy in Ankara released a statement the next day saying it had shut down its visa and consulate departments.
“The consulate department will be re-opened and continue to serve when conditions normalize,” it said.
Thailand deported 109 Uighurs, which caused international reaction, while on July 11, Chinese state television showed pictures of the Uighurs being bundled out of an aircraft with black hoods over their heads.
The Uighurs were from a group of around 350 people who had been detained in Thai immigration centers for about two years.
Of the 350, around 180 - almost all women and children - have arrived in Turkey. Some 109 have been sent to China and around 60 are thought to remain in Thailand.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç has said Turkey would host the 60 “if they come,” underlining that the country has never refused any guest “who came to its door.”