Recently, a news about deportation of a Uighur woman (Zinnetgul Tursun or ZINAITIGULI TUERSUN) and her two children went viral on Facebook among Uighurs overseas. According to her Turkish residence card, her residence number is 99377590054, and date of birth is Oct. 4, 1989.
According to an audio by a woman who claims to be Zinnetgul’s sister (Jennetgul Tursun), Zinnetgul’s two little children were returned to their grandmother (i.e. Zinnetgul and Jennetgul’s mother) who is still living in the Ghulja city of Uighur homeland (East Turkistan) in the western part of China. Guljennet has managed to add her mother on a social media (WeChat) and was told that the two children are with her now. From this conversation Guljennet confirmed that her sister Zinnetgul has been deported back to China and Chinese authorities has taken Zinnetgul. Guljennet’s mother did not specifically say that Zinnetgul is back but said the two grand children are now with her. After this short conversation Guljennet’s mother urgently asked Guljennet to delete her from the WeChat contact (i.e. unfriend), and this is most likely due to fear of persecution by the Chinese authorities.
Zinnetgul’s sister, Jennetgul Tursun, also mentioned in the audio above that Zinnetgul was detained by the Turkish authorities at the Izmir Police Department Foreigners Branch (Yabancılar Şubesi) during the Ramadan of 2019, which was between May 5 and June 3. Guljennet was told by the Turkish authorities that Zinnetgul will be released after the Eid al Fitr 2019, on June 3. However, Guljennet did not hear from her sister since then until she got the news that Zinnetgul’s children are returned back in China.
According to a Facebook post, Zinnetgul was transferred from Izmir to the Istanbul Directorate General of Migration Management ( Göç İdaresi) on June 27, 2019. This news has also been verified by Uighur activist Seyit Tümtürk, the current President of East Turkistan National Assembly, in a video message during an interview by Huseyin Tejelli.
According to Hidayetullah Oguzhan, the president of East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association, Zinnetgul Tursun was deported by the Turkish authorities after she was identified as a Tajik not a Uighur. Oguzhan has mentioned in this Facebook post that when he asked the Turkish authorities at the Directorate General of Migration Management ( Göç İdaresi) by showing the residence card of Zinnetgul, the Turkish authorities told him that she was identified as a Tajik named Rahime Ahmedova and she was deported to Tajikistan. The Turkish authorities also stressed that they will never deport a Uighur person to China or elsewhere. It is not clear how and why she was identified as a Tajik citizen and how the Tajikistan government has accepted her.
Most importantly, there is no clue why and how Zinnetgul was deported from Tajikistan to China. Clearly, Tajikistan would not deport a Tajik citizen to China. So, one can only assume that Zinnetgul was somehow identified as an ethnic Tajik by mistake or on purpose. Then it is easy to connects the dots on how Zinnetgul was handed to the Chinese regime by the Tajikistan government given the current relationship between this two dictator governments.
It seems that Turkish authorities are secretly deporting Uighurs to China by falsely identifying them as Tajik, Kazkah, Uzbek or Kyrgyz. Thus, they can now claim that they will never deport a Uighur, and deportation of these people is not against the above claim because they are not identified as Uighurs according to their documents. This claim has been verified by an anonymous Uighur person who does not want to reveal his name due to fear of deportation. This person claims that he was one of the detainees at the Turkish immigration detention center and later he was released. It turned out that Zinnetgul is not the only Uighur refugees in Turkey that has been deported to China.
In this case, the central Asian countries are just serving as a transit stop for the Uighurs on their way to be deported back to China. Thus, the Turkish authorities can avoid sever criticism and backlash from the Turkish people many of whom see Uighurs with close ethnic and historical ties and regards Uighurs are being subject to ethnic and cultural genocide under the Chinese regime.
By now, the Uighur community in Turkey is under strong psychological pressure due to fear of being deported to China where they sure will be sent to one of the more than 100 concentration camps, if they do get deported. Turkish government should come out and give an official explanation on the deportation of Zinnetgul Tursun. Stronger partnership and bilateral relationship between Turkey and China should not come at the price of sacrificing innocent Uighur lives.