Why Erdogan has decided to extradite Uighurs to China

Edited By: Palki Sharma WION
New Delhi Published: Jul 27, 2020, 08:41 PM(IST)

File Photo of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

In 2019, Erdogan had said people in Xinjiang are living happily. Now, he is supporting the persecution of Uighurs by enabling their extradition to China.

Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the self-styled defender of the Muslim world. The Turkey president jumps on any opportunity to criticise India especially when it's about the Muslim community.

However, the Turkish president does not say anything against China or on the oppression of Uighur Muslims.

In 2019, Erdogan had said people in Xinjiang are living happily. Now, he is supporting the persecution of Uighurs by enabling their extradition to China.

A new report extensively documents the innovative ways through which Turkey extradites Uighurs. They first identify them, then send them to a third country and from there China can secure their extradition.

The Telegraph report found that several Uighurs were sent to Tajikistan - a country that readily complies when China files an extradition request.

According to one estimate, 50,000 Uighurs have sought refuge in Turkey. They are trying to evade repression in China but the Dragon’s long arm has now reached them.

WION spoke to Arslan Hidayat, a Uighur rights activist based in Istanbul. Hidayat has first-hand knowledge about these extraditions. Hidayat described the great lengths to which China can go to secure the return of Uighurs.

Hidayat said China hunts for Uighurs as they can expose the country's dictatorial repression.

Beijing sent a request to the Turkish government to extradite an Uighur earlier. 

The extradition requested named one Enver Turdi. He had shared information about the Chinese government's abuses with the Western press. In 2015, the Chinese embassy in Turkey refused to issue him a passport. As a result, he couldn’t renew his temporary residence permit for Turkey. Two years later, Enver Turdi was placed in a deportation facility and interrogated by Turkish authorities.

Turkey and China had signed a draft extradition treaty in 2017 but the Turkish parliament hasn’t ratified it. Erdogan wants the Chinese to keep cutting the cheques. In 2010, China and Turkey had signed eight strategic cooperative pacts. It could increase their annual trade volumes to $100 billion this year.

Last year, China’s central bank made a $1 billion cash infusion into the Turkish economy with struggling banks receiving bailouts from China. Beijing has even sanctioned a $3.6 billion package for Turkey’s energy sector.
 
For these reasons, Erdogan won’t say anything about the Uighurs. The Turkish president is indebted to China just like the rest of the Muslim world.

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