Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'New York Post' slammed for publishing ISIS execution images

Read more

DEBATE

Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza: Back to Square One?

Read more

DEBATE

Israel-Gaza conflict: 72-hour ceasefire deal sets stage for Cairo talks

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

FOCUS

Spain's El Hierro to become world's first self-powered island

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bellwether for what not to do

Read more

ENCORE!

Luc Besson back in action with Scarlett Johansson in 'Lucy'

Read more

FOCUS

Israel's minorities and military service

Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Netanyahu compares Hamas to IS, Gaza offensive to continue

    Read more

  • France’s ex-PM Juppé sets up presidential clash with Sarkozy

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • France’s Hollande says global security ‘worst since 2001’

    Read more

  • France urges Iran, others in region, to join fight against IS

    Read more

  • A new view on Normandy landings, 70 years on

    Read more

  • Video: Dozens arrested despite smaller protests in Ferguson

    Read more

  • Dozens killed as landslides strike Japan’s Hiroshima

    Read more

  • Suspected Ebola cases in Austria, new drug raises hopes

    Read more

  • WWII anniversary highlights best - and worst - of Paris police

    Read more

  • Headscarf at the beach sparks French MEP’s fury

    Read more

  • Video: Life in under-siege Donetsk

    Read more

  • Racism, riots and police violence: USA under scrutiny

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Turkish PM Erdogan likens Xinjiang violence to 'genocide'

Latest update : 2009-07-10

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has compared the plight of the Uighurs - a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in Xinjiang - to genocide, a move that could potentially damage Turkey's relations with China, a key trading partner.

AFP - Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared Friday the plight of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang to genocide, risking the ire of China, a key trading partner.
  
Erdogan sharply elevated his government's criticism of Beijing as anti-Chinese demonstrations were held across Turkey in solidarity with the Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority.
  
Erdogan, who heads Turkey's Islamist-rooted government, did not specifically blame China -- a key trading partner -- for deaths in Xinjiang but strongly criticised Beijing's inaction.
  
"The event taking place in China is a kind of genocide," Erdogan said, adding that "we have difficulty understanding how China's leadership... can remain a spectator in the face of these events."
  
At least 184 people have been killed in unrest in Xinjiang over the past week, according to official figures. Meanwhile anger has built in the Islamic world over the treatment of the Uighurs, who have long complained about repression under Chinese rule.
  
Up until Friday Turkey, wary of the growing importance of its ties with China, had been reluctant to forcefully rebuke Beijing over its handling of the crisis.
  
"Turkey is caught in a dilemma," said the International Crisis Group's Hugh Pope, who has written a book on relations between Turkey and Uighurs.
  
"One one hand, it has real, strong interests with China. On the other hand, the government does feel a sense of sympathy and responsibility, and media and public opinion is very emotional about the story."
  
Erdogan earlier said Turkey would ask the UN Security Council to discuss ways of ending the violence. The call was rejected by China, one of five permanent members of the council who can veto its actions.
  
"This is completely China's internal affair," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing.
  
Turkey often cites "internal affairs" to deflect international criticism of its handling of a 25-year Kurdish insurgency in the southeast.
  
"Just like China with the Uighurs, Turkey is wary of foreign powers meddling with ethnic disputes like the Kurds, so can't bang the drum about any need for international supervision too hard," Pope said.
  
The foreign ministry in Ankara has been careful with the wording of its statements, urging China to "act in accordance with international human rights norms and principles" in handling the unrest.
  
"The Turkish people feel very close to the Uighur people and share their suffering," said a ministry statement, underlining that Uighurs form a "strong bridge of friendship" between Turkey and China.
  
Trade and Industry Minister Nihat Ergun called for a boycott of Chinese goods, while hastening to add that this was a personal gesture with no government approval.
  
Prior to Erdogan's genocide comments, the media had criticised the Ankara government's stance as too soft.
  
"The Turkic Uighurs should at least get the same sympathy shown to the Palestinians of Gaza," said an editorial in the Sabah daily, referring to Erdogan's angry slanging match with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Davos forum this year over the Gaza war.
  
The unrest in Xinjiang comes at a bad time for Turkey.
  
President Abdullah Gul visited China in June, accompanied by 120 businessmen, in a bid to strengthen trade links.
  
The two sides discussed telecoms, electronics and auto sector projects. Gul also visited Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang and donned a qlapan, a traditional Uighur costume.
  
"China is a great power that Turkey needs a good relationship with for a wide variety of reasons," Pope said.
  
"Big Turkish companies are producing goods in China, and importing significant quantities of goods from China. The Turkish armed forces are very interested in Chinese military technology," he added.
  
Trade between Turkey and China has grown over the years to about 17 billion dollars in 2008 -- heavily in China's favour with 15.6 billion dollar's worth of exports to Turkey.

Date created : 2009-07-10

COMMENT(S)