Turkey wants to see world free of nuclear weapons: FM

Turkey wants to see world free of nuclear weapons: FM

GENEVA – Anadolu Agency
Turkey wants to see world free of nuclear weapons: FM

Turkey's ultimate goal is to see a world free of nuclear weapons, the country's foreign minister said on Feb. 25.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu's remarks came at the UN's Disarmament Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Disarmament, proliferation of nuclear weapons and weapon control is of critical importance for global security and peace," Çavuşoğlu said, adding that Turkey faced numerous risk and threats in its region.

He noted that Turkey was simultaneously fighting several terror groups while the civil war in Syria has almost entered its 9th year.

The foreign minister underlined the conference was a unique platform to discuss the issue of weapons of mass destruction.

He emphasized that a world without nuclear weapons could only be achieved by implementing the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in a successive and universal manner.

He also called on the attendees to hold an international conference on the "weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East"

Concerns about Uighurs in China         

Later, addressing the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Çavuşoğlu reiterated Turkey's concerns about Chinese human rights violations against Uighurs.

“When it comes to China, the findings of the report of UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and several other reports regarding human rights violations against Uighurs and other Muslim communities in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, are serious cause for concern,” said Çavuşoğlu.

“While recognizing China's right to combat terrorism, we think that a distinction should be made between terrorists and innocent people.         

“We encourage Chinese authorities and expect that universal human rights, including freedom of religion, are respected and full protection of the cultural identities of the Uighurs and other Muslims is ensured,” he added.

Earlier this month, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy called China's assimilation policy towards Uighur Turks “a great embarrassment for humanity.”

Turkey urged Chinese authorities to respect the fundamental human rights of Uighur Turks and shut down the concentration camps.

China's Xinjiang region is home to around 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 percent of Xinjiang's population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

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.

Up to 1 million people, or about 7 percent of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to U.S. officials and UN experts.

In a report last September, the Human Rights Watch accused the Chinese government of a “systematic campaign of human rights violations” against Uighur Muslims in northwestern Xinjiang, an autonomous region of the country.

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