Documents obtained by news website Axios revealed that Turkey accepted Chinese request of extradition of a Uighur man who fled Xinjiang.
“The dossier is 92 pages long and includes the Chinese government extradition request, dated May 2016, supporting police reports, Turkish translations provided by the Chinese government, and Turkish government documents from 2017 indicating the request was accepted by the Turkish Ministry of Justice and that court proceedings were initiated,” Axios said.
Enver Turdi, the man named in the extradition request, has lived in Turkey since early 2014 when he fled China’s Xinjiang region which is home to some 10 million Uighurs.
“Enver’s lawyer obtained the dossier in early 2020, the first time that Enver says he knew for sure that the Chinese government was behind his troubles in Turkey,” Axios said.
The Turkish government openly welcomed Uighurs fleeing China before 2017, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was an outspoken champion of Uighur rights until recently.
Many Uighurs have traditionally viewed Turkey as an advocate for their rights and a place of refuge from repressive Chinese rule. But, now all that has changed. Uighurs say they are now less free to practice religion and gather in protest. Ankara has been quietly deporting small numbers of Uighurs, that more than 1,000 Uighurs are currently in jail in Turkey, and the Chinese embassy in Ankara has opened lawsuits against Uighurs in Turkey for terrorism, kidnapping, and other offences.
And, Erdoğan’s recent silence on Uighurs’ problems is evidently down to his desire to build stronger economic ties with China as a result of Turkey’s deteriorating relationships with the United States and Europe.