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Turkey: China’s treatment of Uygurs embarrassment for humanity

AP file photo

Uygurs living in Turkey and their supporters, some carrying coffins representing Uighurs who died in China's far-western Xinjiang Uyghur region, chant slogans as they stage a protest in Istanbul, against what they call as oppression by Chinese government to Muslim Uygurs in the province on July 4, 2015.

AFP-Jiji ANKARA (AFP-Jiji) — Turkey on Saturday condemned China’s treatment of its Muslim ethnic Uygur people as “a great embarrassment for humanity,” adding to rights groups’ recent criticism over mass detentions of the Turkic-speaking minority.

“The systematic assimilation policy of Chinese authorities toward Uyghur Turks is a great embarrassment for humanity,” Turkish foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement.

The northwest Xinjiang region of China, where most Uygurs live, has been under heavy police surveillance in recent years, after violent interethnic tensions.

Nearly 1 million Uygurs and other Turkic language-speaking minorities in China have reportedly been held in re-education camps, according to a U.N. panel of experts.

Beijing says the “vocational education centers” help people steer clear of terrorism and allow them to be reintegrated into society.

But critics say China is seeking to assimilate Xinjiang’s minority population and suppress religious and cultural practices that conflict with communist ideology and the dominant Han culture.

“It is no longer a secret that more than 1 million Uygur Turks — who are exposed to arbitrary arrests — are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in concentration centers and prisons,” Aksoy said in the Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

“Uygurs who are not detained in the camps are also under great pressure,” he added.

Turkey called on the international community and U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres “to take effective steps to end the human tragedy in Xinjiang region.”

Most mainly Muslim countries have not been vocal on the issue, not criticizing the government in China, which is an important trading partner.Speech

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