Turkish symposium calls Uighur region “forgotten Palestine”

Islamweb, March 23, 2010

A major international symposium that gathered in Istanbul over the weekend to discuss the recent situation inside Uighur region called China to open East Turkestan to the world and stop all human rights abuses.

The “Free Eastern Turkistan Symposium” was organized by the Istanbul Peace Platform, and the IHH was one of the event’s organizers.

The symposium opened with the speech of IHH chairman Bulent Yildirim, who explained the aim of the symposium to acknowledge the human rights violations and attacks against the Uighur Muslims for the past 60 years.

Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Konya deputy Husnu Tuna and Saadet (Felicity) Party Istanbul Provincial chairman Erol Erdogan talked about different ways to pressure China to stop human rights abuses.

“All kinds of pressure”

Prof. Dr. Alimcan Inayet said all kinds of pressure against the Uighur Turks and human rights violations continue, as to the policy of forced migration to reduce China’s Uighur minority.

“The Chinese communists in the East Turkestan continues to transfer population to other regions, as well as restrictions on the Uighur language, Chinese education, bilingual education, birth ban, religious worship” he said.

Reminding that the region has rich natural resources, Prof. Dr. Alimcan Inayet said, “torture and executions continue in a systematic manner, while birth policy applied to the people of the region, despite relentless objections.”

Inayet said China violates the right to education and Chinese educational practice is used to speed up the assimilation process among the Uighurs. Although according to the Chinese Constitution, every citizen has the right to have religious belief or disbelief, the Muslim Uighur civil servants are banned to prayer and fast, Inayet said.

“Forgotten Palestine”

Prof. Dr. Alaeddin Yalcinkaya used the phrase of “The Forgotten Palestine” for the East Turkistan.

China changed name of East Turkistan and named it as Xinjiang in 1955.

“The year when Israel declared ‘a state’ in 1948 is the time the occupation began also in East Turkestan by the communists. That is why some authors and researchers use the expression of the Forgotten Palestine for East Turkestan. Perhaps the East Turkestan will become worse than Palestine, such as ‘lost al-Andalus’,” Yalcinkaya said.

He continued as following:

“China has implemented all kind of policies and actions against the East Turkistan people before and after the communism, which cannot be characterized by a word no lighter than genocide. The government recently started to use the discourse of “radicalism and radicals” along with “the war against separatism and those who make propaganda for separatists.” Accordingly, all scholars, students of religious sciences, teachers, imams, people who want to go to Hajj or wear the Islamic dress are seen as potential threats. Fasting, going to mosques, teaching and learning Islamic religion was forbidden. China uses all kinds of discrimination against the Uighurs.”

Chairman of the Eastern Turkistan Culture and Solidarity Association and Vice President of World Uighur Congress Seyit Tumturk reacted to “the world’s silence in the face of massacre happened on June 26, 2009 in Urumqi.” Tumturk thanked Turkey and the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan who “has given the most severe reaction and calling the massacre almost genocide.”

The East Turkestan Symposium, which brought together a number of academics, thinkers, opinion leaders, civil society representatives and individuals and bodies called China to open East Turkestan to the world and stop all human rights violations.

The Symposium urged international bodies such as the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and states “to take an active role in restoring rights of people of this region urgently and in putting a swift end to the ongoing unjust and repressive rule in East Turkistan.”

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