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Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against China in Istanbul on Friday. Photo: EPA-EFE

1,000 protest in Istanbul over China’s treatment of Uygurs

  • Demonstrators burn Chinese flag and wave flag of ‘East Turkestan’, the term many Uygur separatists use for Xinjiang
  • Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil, a German of Turkish origin, criticised China’s crackdown last week, as well as international Muslim community’s silence on issue

More than 1,000 protesters marched in Istanbul on Friday to protest against China over its treatment of mainly Muslim Uygurs in Xinjiang.

They called for an end to the crackdown in China’s northwestern region, where upwards of one million Uygurs and other people from mostly Muslim minorities are believed to be held in re-education camps.

The demonstrators marched from the Fatih mosque on the city’s European side of Istanbul to Beyazit square as part of the protest organised by Turkey’s Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).

Some were carrying the flag of “East Turkestan”, the term many Uygur separatists use for Xinjiang, which has a blue backdrop with a white crescent moon.

Protesters march with East Turkestan flags during a demonstration at Fatih in Istanbul on Friday. Photo: AFP

At one point, some protesters burned a Chinese flag while others carried posters saying: “Close the concentration camps.”

Not many Muslim leaders have openly criticised the treatment of Uygurs with the exception of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

Can China sustain its human rights vision with Xinjiang and Hong Kong in spotlight?

The country has linguistic and cultural connections with the Uygurs.

Arsenal footballer Mesut Ozil, a German of Turkish origin, criticised China’s actions and the Muslim community’s silence last week but has since come under a barrage of attacks from Beijing.
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Protesters march in Istanbul over treatment of Uygurs