China Denies Turkish Claim That Uighur Poet Died in Xinjiang

Last month China passed a law to'Sinicize Islam and make it'compatible with socialism

Last month China passed a law to'Sinicize Islam and make it'compatible with socialism

"The reintroduction of concentration camps in the 21st century and the systematic assimilation policy of Chinese authorities against the Uighur Turks is a great embarrassment for humanity", Mr Aksoy said.

"We took notice of Turkey's foreign ministry spokesman's claims".

While Turkey and China broadly have good relations, Aksoy said he was responding to the death of Heyit in a Chinese jail.

"It is no longer a secret that more than one million Uighur Turks incurring arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in internment camps and prisons", said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy.

In Saturday's statement, Turkey called on the global community and the United Nations secretary-general "to take effective measures in order to bring to an end this human tragedy in East Turkistan - region claimed by Uighurs".

She said envoys and journalists from more than 10 countries were invited to visit Xinjiang's vocational education and training centers last month.

"We've learned with great sorrow that dignified poet Abdurehim Heyit, who was sentenced to eight years in prison for his compositions, died in the second year of his imprisonment". The region was incorporated into modern China after leaders of the East Turkestan Republic surrendered to the Chinese Communist Party in 1949.

Surveillance cameras, security checkpoints and riot police have become ubiquitous in Xinjiang in recent years, but the government maintains that such measures are necessary to combat separatist violence and latent religious extremism.

"China then released a video message from Heyit saying he was in good health and in the custody of authorities after 'allegedly violating national laws".

A Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters that while it was naturally a positive development if the video was "true" and Heyit was alive, the main issue the Turkish foreign ministry addressed in its statement was the "heavy violations" of human rights in China.

"The Turkish side has made a very bad mistake which is quite irresponsible".

The authenticity of the video has not been independently confirmed.

Defending their detention camps, Beijing said that "both China and Turkey face the arduous task of fighting terrorism".

The Chinese embassy released a statement regarding the same.

Such detention campaigns have swept across Xinjiang, a territory half the area of India, leading to what a USA commission on China said is "the largest mass incarceration of a minority population in the world today". The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45 percent of the region's population, has long accused China's authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination.

The Chinese government justifies these camps as part of its counter-extremism and counter-terrorism efforts.

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