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Uighurs living in Turkey protest against China’s oppression of Muslim Uighurs in far-western Xinjiang province, in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 5, 2018 (AP photo by Burhan Ozbilici).

Why Turkey Finally Criticized China’s Uighur Internment Camps

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019

Earlier this month, Turkey broke a long period of silence on China’s policy of forcibly incarcerating over 1 million Uighur Muslims, calling it a “great shame for humanity.” The statement, which prompted an indignant response from Beijing, represented a shift for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pursued deeper economic ties with China but has also come under increasing political pressure to speak out against repressive Chinese policies toward its Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, in western China. In an interview with WPR, Selçuk Çolakoglu, director of the Turkish Center for Asia-Pacific Studies in Ankara, discusses what led Erdogan’s government to finally criticize China’s treatment of the Uighurs and whether the dispute will have a lasting impact on Turkish-Chinese relations.

World Politics Review: How has China’s ongoing repression of its Muslim minorities affected the evolution of its relationship with Turkey? ...

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