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Turkish Uighurs fear betrayal of Chinese vaccines and trade

For five days this month, Jebelin Sylmemet and other Uighur activists protested outside the Chinese embassy in Ankara, demanding that the missing family be found in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. However, on the sixth day, Turkish police intervened.

They prevented activists from gathering outside the diplomatic mission, placed themselves outside the hotel, and accompanied them wherever they went.

Standoffs are difficult to carry out with Beijing as Turkey, home to tens of thousands of asylum Uighurs, wants closer ties and investments and relies on China to supply coronavirus vaccines. It reflects the act of balancing.

President Recep Tayyip ErdoganHas established itself as a defender of oppressed Islam around the world and has in the past criticized China’s actions in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, where the Chinese Communist Party participates. Containment Over 1 million Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims.

“On the other hand, Turkey wants to stand for us. We feel it,” said 29-year-old Sylmemet, whose mother has been detained in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since early 2018. .. “But they can’t do that. It feels like their hands are tied together.”

Jeblanc Sylmemet protests in Ankara. His mother has been detained in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region since early 2018 © Jevlan Shirmemmet

Analysts say China’s Uighur plight is causing problems for Erdogan looking for an alternative global partner when relations with the West are severely tense. “They are Muslims, Turks, and Turkish voters are sensitive to this issue,” said Marsan Dander, director of the Asia-Pacific Research Center at Ankara University. “The government cannot build a very close relationship with China, but it does not want to break all ties.”

For the past few years, Erdogan has been one of the most outspoken global Muslim leaders in the plight of the Uighurs. Uighurs are seen in Turkey as part of the wider global family of Turks to which Ankara has rights. Responsibility to protect..

However, opposition parties have accused Erdogan’s government of softening criticism so as not to confuse Beijing. “Europe and the United States have spoken against the oppression of the Uighur brothers in China … but there is still no sound from Ankara,” said Meral Axner, the leader of the opposition IYI party, last month. It was. Turkish officials claim they continue to raise concerns with Beijing in a closed room.

Some members of the Erdogan administration have argued for a stronger relationship with Beijing to seduce Chinese capital when foreign direct investment from Western countries is declining.

According to the company, investment so far has been limited, with China’s investment in Turkey reaching $ 1.2 billion in 2019 with capital. Central bank dataCompared to over $ 100 billion from Europe.

A woman in eastern Turkey is vaccinated with the CoronaVac vaccine.Turkey ordered Chinese jabs 100 million times

A woman in eastern Turkey is vaccinated with the CoronaVac vaccine. Turkey ordered 100 million Chinese jabs © Chris McGrath / Getty

Ankara is more enthusiastic.The country’s sovereign wealth fund Courtship Investment in China, and plans to open an office in China earlier this year.Ankara also has a swap deal with the People’s Bank of China, which helped boost Turkey’s appearance. Depleted foreign exchange reserves Estimated $ 2 billion.

The pandemic made the relationship even more complicated. Turkey is struggling to procure European-made vaccines, but has a contract to administer 100 million doses of CoronaVac jab manufactured by Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech. The December shipment delay was consistent with the Chinese parliament’s decision to ratify the extradition treaty between the two countries. Turkey has not ratified it yet.

The ratification of the treaty by Beijing “caused a major panic among Uighur-Turks who fled from China to Turkey,” said Jurdurum Kaya, a member of the opposition Republican People’s Party. In a series of questions raised by the Turkish Minister of Health, he demanded to know if Ankara faced pressure to ratify the agreement to speed up the delivery of vaccines. Turkish Foreign Minister Mebrut Chabsogur responded angry to such a proposal. “We don’t use Uighurs for political purposes,” he said. “We defend their human rights.”

Analysts are also skeptical of China’s use of the vaccine, and Turkey has already given 6.2 million doses of such crude oil leverage. Seren Ergenk, an associate professor of Chinese studies at the University of Liverpool, Xi’an, Suzhou, said Ankara was likely in favor of Beijing by signing a vaccine contract that had not yet been approved in China. thinking about.I still have question mark Beyond its effectiveness.

“It happened at the moment when China didn’t necessarily need money and needed the prestige of the international system for vaccine reliability,” she said. “There is some kind of debt or reciprocity. Turkey still needs financial support from China, so we did this act of buying a Chinese vaccine that had not yet been tested at all stages at the time. It was. “

In response to a question from the Financial Times, the Chinese embassy in Ankara said recent protests were trying to “slander” China and their actions threatened the security of the diplomatic mission. It strongly rejected the idea of ​​using the need for Turkish vaccination as a political influence as “absolutely unfounded speculation and malicious misunderstanding.”

Nevertheless, this episode has made many members of the Uighur diaspora deeply nervous about their location in Turkey. “China considers us criminals,” said Milzefmet Ilyasogur, who participated in this month’s Ankara protest, asking for information about his missing brother, brother-in-law, and four friends. “This is [extradition] The agreement never comes before Congress, but once it is signed, our concern grows. “

Turkish Uighurs fear betrayal of Chinese vaccines and trade

Source link Turkish Uighurs fear betrayal of Chinese vaccines and trade

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