Uyghur Diaspora Reactions to Turkish FM Hakan Fidan’s visit to Uyghurland

After a 12-year pause in high-level visits from Ankara to Beijing, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan visited China this week. His visit includes stops in the Uyghur cities of Urumqi and Kashgar. This visit is significant because Turkey, as a country, has historical and cultural ties with the Uyghurs, hosts one of the largest Uyghur diasporas, and its stance on the ongoing Uyghur genocide sends signals to China, the West, the Muslim world, and Uyghurs both in China and the global diaspora. So, how does the Uyghur diaspora view his visit at this critical time?

Hakan Fidan, Turkish FM talks to Uyghur children in Kashgar.TRT Haber
Hakan Fidan talks to Uyghur Kids in Kashgar; TRT

World Uyghur Congress Criticizes Visit of Turkish Foreign Minister to East Turkistan:

“In the past, Türkiye has consistently voiced its condemnation of China’s repressive policies on the international stage. The upcoming visit of Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan is of particular concern, especially in light of China’s propaganda”, said World Uyghur Congress President Dolkun Isa. “This is also a key opportunity for Türkiye to raise its concerns directly with the Chinese authorities, and demand an end to the religious, cultural and linguistic persecution of Uyghurs as well as the genocide.”

The World Uyghur Congress is concerned about the deepening relationship between Türkiye and China, particularly regarding its potential impact on the Uyghur diaspora in the country. Türkiye hosts one of the largest Uyghur diaspora communities globally, with approximately 50,000 individuals who fled the oppressive regime in China. However, this community faces growing harassment and intimidation by CCP-established transnational networks. These networks spy on Uyghurs, exploiting factors such as passport applications, financial struggles, and concerns for family in East Turkistan to coerce Uyghur individuals into serving as informants, remaining silent on the Uyghur genocide, or participating in pro-China propaganda efforts.

Turkish FM Hakan Fidan Visit Urumqi Yanghang (Noghay)Mosque; TRT

Rebiya Kadeer, the “spiritual mother of the Uyghurs” said:

“I hope the visit of Hakan Fidan, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, to Urumqi and Kashgar will be beneficial for the Uyghur people.

I hope that Hakan Fidan will demand that the Chinese authorities stop the Uyghur genocide and release Uyghur prisoners. I urge Hakan Fidan to call on China not to label the Uyghurs as terrorists. Finally, so that this visit is not used to deny the Uyghur genocide, I urge Turkish media professionals to accurately and independently portray East Turkestan/Uyghurstan”

Hakan Fidan Tries Uyghur tradition of Nan making in Urumqi Grand Bazar. TRT

Omer Kanat, the Co-Founder & Executive Director of Uyghur Human Rights Project:

“We hope that during Mr. Fidan’s visit, realities such as crimes against humanity, state terrorism and human rights violations suffered by the Uyghur people will be expressed to Chinese authorities and these issues will be on the agenda of the meetings. We are sure that Mr. Fidan and his team will be extremely careful against the possible tricks that the Chinese propaganda machine will stage during their visit to East Turkistan, the historical homeland of all Turks, and the dis-informative campaign it will carry out regarding the painful situation in the region.”

Rushan Abbas, Founder & Executive Director of Campaign for Uyghurs:

“Thank you @HakanFidan for speaking up for the #Uyghur people of #EastTurkistan. Uyghurs would fully agree that #Kashgar and #Urumchi are Turkic and Islamic cities since ancient times, as you rightly highlighted in your speech. Against #China’s eradication of Uyghur identity, language, and culture, we need #Turkiye’s full support to ensure that East Turkistan remains true to its roots.”

East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) Condemn Turkish Government’s Support for China’s Ongoing Genocide and Occupation in East Turkistan

“The East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) vehemently condemns the recent actions and statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan during his visit to China and Occupied East Turkistan. Fidan’s explicit support for China’s so-called ‘territorial integrity and sovereignty,’ coupled with his emphasis on deepening economic and security ties with the Chinese regime, represents a profound betrayal of the Uyghur and other Turkic peoples who are enduring a brutal genocide under Chinese occupation.”

The group said: “By showing ‘full support’ for China’s so-called ‘territorial integrity and political sovereignty’ and ‘supporting China against terrorist activities’—a grotesque euphemism used by China to describe and legitimize its Uyghur genocide—Türkiye’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has betrayed the core values and honor of the Turkish nation and the cause of East Turkistan,” said Salih Hudayar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Security of the East Turkistan Government in Exile.”

Tahir Imin, Uyghur human rights activist:

“For Uyghurs, the visit yields no tangible benefits. Turkish officials cannot freely meet Uyghur prisoners or visit places independently. Instead, they meet pre-selected individuals, watch dances, eat local food, take photos, and tell the media that everything looks fine and that China is doing a great job.”

Seyit Tümtürk, President of the East Turkestan National Assembly :

“Did you see the difference between our honorable President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the city of Urumqi in East Turkestan in 2012, and the visit of Mr. Hakan Fidan to Urumqi 12 years later? The streets are empty, the mosques are without congregations. Because millions of Uyghur Turks are in prison camps or jails.”

Hidayet Oghuzkhan: President of the East Turkistan Education Movement and the International Union of East Turkistan NGOs

As the East Turkestan Diaspora, we have long been taking into account the possibility of a visit by a Turkish delegation to East Turkestan, and with the aim that our authorities’ visits achieve their purpose, meet the desires and expectations of the people of East Turkestan and our diaspora, and avoid expressing an opinion in line with China’s expectations by sticking to China’s fabricated and staged visitation points, we conveyed our concerns and suggestions by presenting a report that we prepared with sensitivity and meticulousness. I hope that our honorable Minister and delegation (we have full confidence that they have been meticulously prepared against any possibility) have noted the real situation during their very short visits to Urumqi and Kashgar. Despite everything, our people followed the East Turkestan visit of Mr. Hakan Fidan and his delegation with great importance, excitement and deep expectations.”

Abdürreşit C. KARLUK, Professor of Sociology&Chinese Studies @iibf_ahbv

“This video helps to understand what the people of Kashgar are going through.
The Kashgari woman’s superior, her style of speaking, her avoidance of Islamic words, her facial expression, her attempt to speak Chinese, which she does not know, her anxiety, her memorized “Xinjiang yahshi” slogan…Minister’s humanitarian attitude.”


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