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Turkey calls on China to end mass detention of Uighur Muslims

Turkey calls on China to end mass detention of Uighur Muslims

"We took notice of Turkey's foreign ministry spokesman's claims".

"The Human Rights Council's integrity demands that states not allow China to hide behind its membership or economic might to escape accountability", he said.

A United Nations panel of experts has said that almost one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minorities had been herded into "re-education camps" in China's northwestern Xinjiang region, where most of the country's more than 10 million Uighurs live.

"China's systematic assimilation policy towards Uighur Turks is a great embarrassment for humanity", Anadolu Agency quoted Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) as saying.

Aksoy's remarks were referring to widespread reports of China's mass incarceration of its Muslim Uighur minority, most of who live in the north-western province of Xinjiang.

After months of denying their existence, Chinese authorities under increasing outside pressure acknowledged the system of camps, terming them vocational training centers.

Turkey's response follows the death in detention of Uighur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit, which Aksoy said was a tragedy that had "reinforced the reaction of the Turkish public opinion toward serious human rights violations committed in the Xinjiang region". The region was incorporated into modern China after leaders of the East Turkestan Republic surrendered to the Chinese Communist Party in 1949.

However, China responded on Sunday by releasing a video of Heyit which seemed to show him in good health, suggesting that reports of the poet's death may have been exaggerated.

Surveillance cameras, security checkpoints and riot police have become ubiquitous in Xinjiang in recent years, but the government maintains that such measures are necessary to combat separatist violence and latent religious extremism.

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At a regular news briefing on Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said of the #MeTooUyghur campaign, 'China has more than one billion people, do we need to release a video of everyone?'

At the start of the video, Heyit states his name and gives the date as February 10, 2019.

"The Turkish side has made a very bad mistake which is quite irresponsible".

The Daily Telegraph was unable to confirm whether the video was authentic.

But critics say Uighurs are being pressured in the camps to assimilate with Chinese society and abandon religious and cultural practices that Beijing sees as potential sources of resistance.

If they are still alive, the posts said, the Chinese government should release videos of them too.

"We expect information on these issues", the source said.

The Uighurs are a Muslim minority who speak Turkic, a language similar to Turkish.

The Chinese government justifies these camps as part of its counter-extremism and counter-terrorism efforts.