10:40 GMT +323 October 2019
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    Uyghur protesters, sitting, are detained by security force officers after they marched to protest through the street in Urumqi, western China's Xinjiang province (File)

    Ankara Urges Beijing to Close 'Re-Education Camps' for Uyghurs

    © AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko
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    ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkey calls on Beijing to respect the rights of Uyghurs, a Turkic ethnic group, living in the Chinese northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), and close the so-called re-education camps where up to a million Uyghurs are believed to be held, spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry Hami Aksoy said.

    "We invite the Chinese authorities to respect the fundamental human rights of Uighur Turks and to close the internment camps. We call on the international community and the Secretary General of the United Nations to take effective measures in order to bring to an end this human tragedy in Xinjiang," Aksoy said in a statement, published on the ministry's official website late on Saturday.

    According to the United Nations' estimates, up to 1 million ethnic Uyghurs were held in the "re-education camps" under the pretext of fighting terrorism and religious extremism as of last summer.

    READ MORE: China Tests New Facial Recognition System in Xinjiang Uyghur Region — Reports

    The Uyghurs tried to seek independence from China between 1930-40s. In recent years, the Chinese government introduced stricter security measures in the region, justifying their actions by the fight against extremism.

    Beijing has also denied the existence of "re-education camps" on numerous occasions, insisting that the country fully complies with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

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    Tags:
    extremism, education, camps, Uighurs, United Nations, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China, Turkey
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