A chill for Uyghurs sweeps across the Mediterranean - SupChina
Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

Premium

Join the thousands of executives, diplomats, and journalists that rely on SupChina for daily analysis of the full China story.

Daily Newsletter

All the news, every day. Premium analysis directly from our Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Goldkorn.

24/7 Slack Community

Have China-related questions and want answers? Our Slack community is a place to learn, network, and opine.

Free Live Events & More

Monthly live conference calls with leading experts, free entry to SupChina live events in cities around the world, and more.

"A jewel in the crown of China reporting. I go to it, look for it daily. Why? It adds so much insight into the real China. Essential news, culture, color. I find SupChina superior."
— Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China

Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

OR… for more in-depth analysis and an online community of China-focused professionals:

Learn About Premium Access Now!
Learn More
Minimize
Learn More
Minimize

A chill for Uyghurs sweeps across the Mediterranean

Part of the daily SupChina newsletter. Subscribe for free


Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced on August 3 that his government, led by the increasingly autocratic Tayyip Erdogan, “absolutely will not allow in Turkey any activities targeting or opposing China,” Reuters reports. He also said that Turkey will censor — or, in his words, “eliminate” — any “media reports targeting China.”

Who would target China from Turkey?

  • In a word, Uyghurs. It’s estimated that hundreds, or even thousands, of the Turkic-language-speaking and largely Muslim Uyghurs of China’s western province Xinjiang have made their way to Turkey. Turkey has long angered China by sheltering this population, and Erdogan himself had even in 2009 accused China of committing “genocide” toward its Uyghur population, Bloomberg points out.
  • Beijing is concerned that some may have joined Islamist militants in the Middle East, though concrete numbers for this are even more difficult to obtain than for the Uyghur population in Turkey. Estimates of Uyghur militants in the Middle East range from 300 to 5,000.

So why the sudden move to please Beijing? Two things:

  • Turkey is “keen to tap into” China’s ambitious Belt and Road infrastructure initiative that aims to link the East with Europe.
  • Bloomberg highlights the larger strategic context: “China, Russia and Turkey have strengthened their partnership while Erdogan has pulled away from the orbit of European governments amid disputes over human rights and other issues.”

Turkey is not the only country that China has recently convinced to crack down on its Uyghur population.

  • A month ago, Egypt detained and deported over a dozen Uyghur students, in a move that “seemed to be in support of the Chinese government’s deepening effort to stifle resistance” from Uyghurs within China, the New York Times reported (paywall).
  • Just last week, Reuters noted, “A prominent Uighur exile was detained briefly by police in Italy,” and the man claimed that “officers had said they acted on a request from China.”

Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.