Ankara is waiting on a report form a delegation heading to China’s Xingjiang region to determine a clear stance on Beijing’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim community, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.
Beijing has been accused by human rights groups of keeping its over 1 million Uighur Muslim population in detention centres, which has been described by Uighur activists as “21st century concentration camps”. China has denied accusations of mistreatment against the group.
“Our Foreign Ministry is currently conducting an investigation on this matter. I hope that with this, and as a result of the observations made by a delegation that will head to there, we will more clearly determine the stance we will take,’’ Islamist FurkanHaber news site quoted Erdoğan as saying on Sunday during an event he attended in New York ahead of the United Nations General Assembly.
Turkey in July announced it had accepted an invitation from China to send a delegation to the Xingjiang region to observe the treatment of the Muslim minority.
Turkey is the only Muslim nation to have regularly expressed concern about the situation in Xinjiang, including as recently as February, when Ankara described the camps as a “great shame for humanity” and called on Beijing to close them.
However, Turkey did a u-turn on the issue during an official visit to the country in July, when Erdoğan said that Uighurs lead happy lives in China.
The Turkish president met with members of the Turkish and Muslim communities in New York ahead of the 74th session of the annual UN General Assembly.
The Vice Chair of the New York Police Department (NYPD) Muslim Officers’ Association, Ali Hammutoğlu, along with other members of the organisation, greeted Erdoğan at the meeting attended by thousands from all over the country, USATurkNews website reported on Monday.
Erdoğan on Monday also met with representatives of American Jewish organisations, the country’s presidency announced on Twitter.