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Turkey sends delegation to China to observe oppressed Uighurs

Rights groups see the measures as part of a campaign to forcefully assimilate Uighurs [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 July, 2019

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Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday that Turkey accepted an invitation from China to visit Xinjiang and will send 10 officials.

Turkey's foreign minister says a delegation will visit China's northwestern Xinjiang region to observe the situation of minority Uighur Turks.

He told Turkey's official Anadolu news agency in Bangkok that "our expectation is for our Uighur brethren to live under one Chinese roof in peace."

Turkey has previously expressed concern over China's arbitrary detentions of Muslim and Uighurs in internment camps, which Beijing calls vocational training centres.

Other majority-Muslim countries have been silent on the issue.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been broadly criticised for putting Riyadh's relationship with Beijing about the rights of the Muslim minority.

Following a flare-up in violence in 2014, Chinese authorities rolled out various draconian security measures in Xinjiang - from banning long beards and headscarves to placing up to a million residents in detention camps.

Those free from detention are said to live in what is essentially a testing ground for the world's most sophisticated high-tech surveillance methods.

Muslims in Xinjiang are barred from fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and have allegedly forced to drink alcohol and eat pork - both forbidden in Islam - in internment camps.

Rights groups and former inmates see the measures as part of a campaign to forcefully assimilate Uighurs and other minorities into the country's majority ethnic Han society, diluting their unique cultures and religious beliefs.

After international condemnation of the detention centres, China has begun organising highly choreographed trips to Xinjiang for journalists and foreign officials.

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