Uyghurs in Turkey file legal complaint against Chinese camps

by Anne Kader




Uyghurs living in Turkey have filed a lawsuit against Chinese concentration camps, where they have their relatives in arbitrary detention, Türkıye News 24 reports. They have filed a misdemeanor complaint demanding the arrest of the Chinese officials responsible for the concentration camps. 


Uyghurs families – around 100 individuals – and some Turkish lawyers gathered at the Istanbul Palace of Justice in Çağlayan and demanded to know where their family members were. The protestors carried East Turkistan flags and banners that displayed slogans such as “China, set my brother free!


After submitting the petition to the Attorney General’s Office, the lawyers Gülden Sönmez, Rümeysa Kabaoğlu, and Muhammet Furkan Yün, made a joint press statement on behalf of the families. They appealed for the closure of Chinese concentration camps. 


The statement says that the Chinese government has committed religious and ethnic-based atrocities against the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in East Turkistan. These include genocide, deliberate killing, torture, cruel treatment, and enforced disappearances. The lawyers submitted the appeal to the judiciary under Turkish Law.


The statement mentioned 19 complainants. Nine are Turkish citizens, and 116 are victims, including children. Most have been detained or forcibly disappeared. Some of the victims had lost their lives in the camps. 


The prosecutor’s office received 112 the names of Chinese political officials, concentration camp directors, police officers, domestic security workers, and administrators.


Among the Uyghurs that gave speeches in the protest was Ms. Medine Nazimi. Even though her sister Mevlide Hilal is a Turkish citizen, the authorities have held her in a Chinese camp for four years. The Chinese state has not provided Ms. Nazimi with any information about her sister. 


The Chinese government has built concentration camps, where it torments the detainees. I cannot remain silent about this persecution, Medine continues. I want justice for all women and children. This genocide must stop! I still have faith in the Turkish judicial system. Please take care of your citizens, she said. 


Mr. Jevlan Shirmehmet, one of the complainants, said that he had come to Turkey to study in a law school. Subsequently, his mother was detained and sent to a concentration camp.


‘My mother’s only crime is that I came to study in Turkey. My profession could not save my mother – on the contrary – it put her in prison. If there is justice in the world, how do concentration camps and torment continue? We are here to set the prisoners free. We will continue our complaints within the scope of universal jurisdiction, Shirmehmet continues.


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