July 12, 2015

"China has accused Turkish diplomats of providing fake passports to members of the Muslim Uighur minority attempting to flee overseas, saying they go on to become 'cannon fodder' for jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq."

Financial Times The accusations follow the forced repatriation to China of Uighurs from jungle camps in Thailand last week, which triggered violent protests in Turkey. by Lucy Hornby and Piotr Zalewski

'Thailand returned 109 Uighurs out of about 400 who were discovered last year in people smuggling camps in its southern jungles, in their attempt to flee China for refuge in Turkey. The week before, Turkey agreed to take 173 of the Uighurs, many of them women and small children.

'Turkey had been in protracted negotiations over the fate of the refugees, who claimed to be Turkish when first discovered. Turkey’s foreign ministry called the Thai government decision to send them back to China “deplorable” and “in contravention of international humanitarian law”.

'Chinese treatment of the Uighurs, most of whom follow a moderate branch of Sufi Islam, is increasingly becoming a sore point with Muslims overseas — particularly in Turkey, where nationalists embrace a Pan-Turkic identity spanning much of Central Asia. The Uighur language is closely related to Turkish.'

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