Uighur protesters in Turkey demand information about family members
Dozens of Uighurs assembled near the Chinese Consulate in Turkey on Wednesday, demanding information about family members they fear are being kept in concentration camps in China.
The protesters in Istanbul held photographs of relatives they say they have not heard from in months.
“Here we want to know where is our family members, why they are in the camp or why they are in the jail? What's their crime? That's the first thing, the second thing is that we want to restore communication with our family members whenever we want. That's against the humanity or against the basic human rights. We want it right now and we want the release of family members,” Nasir Sadik, who was at the protest, told Associated Press.
More than one million Uighurs and other largely Muslim minorities have been swept into prisons and detention camps in China, in what China calls an “anti-terrorism” measure.
"We came here, in front of the Chinese embassy [consulate] to demand to stop the brutal oppression to Uighur people and also stop the genocide towards to Uighur people and also to stop the systematic rape towards the Uighur people in the Chinese concentration camps,” another protester, Burhan Uluyol, told Associated Press.
Uighurs, a Turkic group native to China's far west Xinjiang region, have sought refuge in Turkey for decades because of their shared cultural ties with the country.
Turkey, however, has become less vocal about the plight of Uighurs in recent years as it has developed economic ties with China.
China recently ratified an extradition treaty with Turkey that was signed years ago, raising fears among the Uighur community that they could be sent back to the country they fled.
Turkey has yet to ratify the agreement.
Both Turkish and Chinese authorities insist that the extradition bill does not aim to target Uighurs for deportation.