IHH's President Bulent Yildirim shared a report with the public, on the persecution of victims from East Turkistan living in China. During the meeting Yildirim made a recommendation to President Erdogan about his visit to China.
During a press conference held at IHH headquarters, Bulent Yildirim reminded everyone that East Turkestan has been under the occupation of China for 200 years now.
Yildirim who also noted that IHH has prepared a series of reports and conferences about the prosecution taking place in East Turkestan continued to say, " This case does not only concern those from East Turkestan, Turkey or those with certain political opinions in Turkey, in fact, it is a case which concerns the Islamic world and the whole of mankind."
Call for all political parties
Yildirim stated that meetings should be held with members of all political parties, and a stable foundation of the political relationship between Turkey and East Turkestan should be laid out. He then continued to say:
"Every step taken in this case should lead us to this point. This should not be a topic which is used as a tool during domestic politics. In order to stand against all persecutions, we must be an Arab with Arabs, a Kurd with the Kurds and Turk for East Turkestan. No matter where the persecution is coming from, it must be stopped. This is why all parties should come together and call on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the UN for support."
Yilirim also stated that Turkey needs to organize and hold an International East Turkestan conference, "this way the case of East Turkestan would enter the agenda of the Islamic world, and could bring a united stance against the persecution. Turkey should use its diplomatic, political, economical and bilateral relations to make this conference successful," he said.
Our President should visit all cities
Yildirim ended his speech by calling out to President Erdogan who is preparing a visit to China later this month:
"During our Presidents visit, he is most definitely going to discuss the case of East Turkestan.
Chinese officials are going to show him around Urumqi, a very modern city. However, the real pressure and prohibitions are taking place in other cities. Our President should take a couple of days to visit all cities."
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundations East Turkestan report
Since the establishment of IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, work has been carried out for 20 years for those living in East Turkestan and East Turkestan in emigration. This is the content of IHH's report;
- the analysis and findings of delegations and experts sent to the region,
- Data obtained in scientific studies during workshops, symposiums, conferences, panels etc... organized with experts and representatives from the region and around the globe.
- knowledge and findings obtained during field studies
Protecting the innocent and lives of the innocent people, means protecting all of humanity. We hope that all efforts put forward for justice and human rights, especially for those in East Turkestan, leads to the freedom and basic rights of all of humanity.
The Uighur region is where we call East Turkestan today. It is made up of the northwest border areas of China. While Uyghur's call this place 'Sarki' Turkestan, it is officially known as Xinjiang Autonomous Region in China. The regions surface area is twice as much as Turkey's and has a population of close to 23 million people. 43 percent of this population is made up Uyghur's and 40 percent is Chinese. The remain portion is composed of Muslim minorities from Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and China.
The Uighur region carries vital importance for China due to certain features. Firstly, the Uighur region is a part of the Chinese territory and has borders with eight different countries. In respect of this, it has historically been viewed as a buffer zone against the invasion of foreign task for China. This viewpoint still remains valid for the Beijing government today. Secondly, China's unitary state structure integration is critical to the big unity of the Chinese Uyghur's.
There is a fear of division within the country because of influences that may arise from other ethnic groups, as there is at least 56 ethnic groups in China from the Uygur and Tibetan region. Thirdly, there is rich oil, natural gas, coal and uranium reserves in the region. It is estimated that 35 percent of China's removable oil reserves are in the Uygur region. In terms of the share of national income, despite being behind other regions in China, it plays a vital role in the country's economic growth. Fourth is the country's strategic position;
The Uighur region plays an important role for the energy, natural gas and oil pipeline link between China and Central Asia. China's relations with the Turkic republics in Central Asia and its kinship ties with the peoples of the Uighur region constitutes an advantageous situation for China. Due to all of these factors, the Uighur region is of great importance for China.
One of the most important goals of this policy was stripping the Chinese society from anti-revolution traditions. Thousands sanctuaries representing anti-revolution traditions, in particular mosques were torn down, some were destroyed and some are were used for other purposes outside its main functioning point.
All sorts of religious books, including the Qur'an, was seized from villages and urban centers and set on fire, being dramatically removed from public access. As it could be imagined, all forms of religious practices, worship and religious instructions were prohibited from the region. All forms of religious dress codes starting from the beard all the way to the headscarf was seen as revolutionary protest, therefore banned. Not only Muslims were subject to this matter but Christians and Buddhists were also facing to a similar ban. Until Mao's death in 1976, this form of social policy was imposed from top-down. This oppression is known to have affected the lives of close to 1 billion people.
China's economic reforms after Mao's death entered a stage of radical transformation and expanded internationally. Due to the economic reforms also known as the socialist market model, China exceeds its annual growth rate by more than 9 percent, becoming one of the largest five economies around the world over the course of the last 5 years. However, it cannot be said that China has shown the same development in freedom and human rights. Because economic reforms do no accompany political and social reforms, it is important to mention that China is under a divided state ideology.
The state capitalism model, adopted through global capitalism, integrated under the Chinese Communist Party, has not only detained political opponents, but limited the use of internet and applied censorship in print and social media, keeping the communist ideology afloat. Therefore, the communist ideology is kept revived.
1. East Turkestan has been occupied for the last 200 years. It was annexed by China in 1949 and considered to be part of Chinese territory.
2. Various problems have arise from the structure of the annexation as well as the constitutional status. Consequently, the Community Party brought in autonomous system to all minorities in densely inhabited area such as Eastern Turkistan, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia. East Turkistan was designated as autonomous region in 1955. However when faced with the political reality, they were never given autonomous rights whatsoever. The rights and priveledges of East Turkestan are still being violated by China today. Maoist era policies which involved a full scale transformation of Chinese society have also made a major impact on the breakdown of ethnic minorities. Local languages and culture were extinguished along with the banning of religious belief and practices, and attacks on Islamic clergy were the norm. China's open door policy of 1978 was seen as a relief to the world however the 1989 Tienanmen Square Massacre and the dissolution of the USSR led to the Beijing administration concerned of a domino effect and that it could affect unitary structure of the country. As a result, security policy was given a priority and limited powers to ethnic minorities who had autonomous status, as well limiting their civil rights.
3. Including the massacre of July 5th 2009, other massacres, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detention, torture, birth control and death penalties gave way to deaths as well as nuclear testing that violated rights to life are systematically still in force.
4. Ethnic and religious discrimination forms the basis of Chinese violations. With a one minded view and in particular this is directed towards the Uyghurs and the Muslims in every aspect of their lives and in particular those who work in public institutions, implementing discriminatory policies and actions towards them.
5. Prohibition of the Uyghur language, restrictions and other violations have begun intensely. The so-called autonomous state is in words only and in doing so, the problems regarding the Uyghur language, religion and identity continue. The restriction of the native language; the prohibition of education in the native language is the biggest restriction that the Uyghurs feel under these conditions. The autonomous restrictions of law are in accordance with the official language and are aimed at cultural and restricted purpose. With the loss of the language in daily life, since the year 2000, the Uyghur language has been gradually abolished from educational institutions begging from kindergarten and university lectures are translated to Chinese are the biggest indicators of the restriction of the use of language.
6. Violations of the freedom of belief in particular in urban and rural areas are being openly abused. The devotional prayers of Muslims performed in mosques, the mainstay of Muslim worship is forbidden. Government officials, Communist Party members, retirees, students and women are forbidden to perform acts of worship in the vicinity of mosques. If proven, students face risk of expulsion, public servants can be fired from their positions as well having to pay financial penalties. In addition, the teaching of the Quran has been completely prohibited. Parents are not to teach their children any religious education without prior permission or direct them to people who can.
As a result, religious education to youth is given in secret to compensate for the bans however if police raids detect that religious education is given, then children as well as their teachers will be given prison sentences. In addition, in the last four years no Islamic marriage rituals have been performed, the funeral rites of Muslims have also been banned, bans on the visiting of Islamic shrines and congregational prayers in open spaces have also been put in place.
In the past year the cities of Karamay and Gulca have banned the travel of women wearing the niqab, wearing of abaya's, hijab, anything identifying symbols of the crescent and moon on outer wear as well as long beards are also forbidden on public buses. In the capital of Urumqi, any covered woman or a woman wearing the niqab is forbidden on all public buses, bus and railway stations, schools, hospitals, streets and public squares. Those who break this law will be subject to a 2400 yuan ($500) fine.
7. The change of the demography, the forced exile and settlement polices have forced many Uyghurs from their homes. There are serious and grave concerns for the people in the country, in particular the Uyghurs relating to both fundamental human rights and freedoms as well as the basis of humanitarian rights. The placement of ethnic Chinese in Uyghur populated region is a source for serious concern. In 1949, the Uyghur population of Eastern Turkestan was above 90% - currently this has dropped to 45%. The population of ethnic Chinese is now 40%. In Urumqi, this figure is 70%. New settlers are placed in urbans and industrial areas as opposed to rural areas.
Employers are also hiring ethnic Chinese over Uyghurs, causing unrest and sociological problems. Evidently, the source of Chinese migration to these areas is not the reason for the change of demographics. The regional directors from time to time have accused the Uyghurs of falling behind in the 21st century and that in order to adapt must speak Chinese and "integrate" to Chinese culture.
8. Restriction of freedom of expression, limiting communication, intelligence and freedom of information is violation of not just Uyghur rights in China but to all people on an international level.
9. Repressive policies implemented by China, has made international transport to the region a barrier to humanitarian aid and violation of human rights makes it nearly impossible to ascertain the level of abuse.
10. The Chinese oppression does not violate just East Turkestan, but also victimizes the Chinese people and the other ethnic minorities in China. The Chinese repression does not only create a barrier to peace within the country but also to other regions and on an international level.
11. Birth control policy, forced abortion, forced labor of young girls are among the violations committed upon the people of East Turkestan, as well as forced labor of young girls. Forcing women from Eastern Turkestan into prostitution in particular has exposed women to violence and suffering. As a result of forced abortion, women have lost their lives, have become physically disabled, undergo psychological trauma to the point where the number of women suffering has been brought to special attention of the World Health Organisation (WHO).
12. Unequal access to education, restriction on the freedom of education, the restriction on freedom to travel, the discriminatory employment policies is one of the most frequent violations of the Uyghur youth.
13. The economic problems can be solved as follows. In 1978 the Communist Parties socialist economic reforms gave impetus to socialist market economic reform. Major cities in the east such as Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong who benefited most, however the cities in the west where the ethnic minorities had no share in this reform. One of the most important elements of the prosperity of the metropolitan areas was that the ethnic minorities were transferred to regions where the underground resources were industrialized. In the year 2000, to somewhat compensate this policy and for the self-governing regions to also implement this strategy, the West Chinese reconstruction programme was put into practice. As a result of these investments, the Chinese settlers employment meant that the locals were unemployed and remained impoverished. This way, the Chinese companies that built new constructions or factories instead of providing employment for locals made way for a new wave of migrants to the region. Each new enterprise became a source of population increase for the ethnic Chinese. Unfortunately as a result, the Uyghurs could not benefit from the economic prosperity that the Chinese enjoyed.
1. The issue in East Turkestan is a matter of all mankind. China should open the region for international civilian observers.
2. The Chinese government should give up the policy in assimilating the Muslim Uighur Turks.Population movements must be stopped to prevent the transformation of demographic structure in East Turkestan.
3. The preservation of fundamental rights and freedoms of the Muslims living in East Turkestan should be provided.The rights of the autonomous regions identified in the Chinese constitution should be followed up on till the end.First and foremost, the right of live, property, education and religious beliefs should be guaranteed. China should put an end to ethnic as well as religious discrimination and lift the ban on the freedom of association.There should be an end to arbitrary arrests and executions, barriers against education and freedom of worship, associations, foundations as well as to the establishment of political parties; freedom of press, freedom of travel and communication, forced migration, forced abortions and birth control violations in the region.
4. Human rights violation spoken in recent days is not new it is part of the ongoing events in a systematic manner in the last 200 years.
5. The case in East Turkestan should be removed as being treated an issue of yesterday and must be planned for the future.This case is not only the issue of the people in East Turkestan, Turkey, not only a case of certain political structures in Turkey, yet a case of the Islamic world and humanity in general.Each step taken should be made in regards to this point and should not be allowed to be used as internal politics.You do need to be Arab to stand against the persecution against Arabs, Kurd for Kurds and you do not need to be a Turk to stand against the persecution towards the people of East Turkestan.
6. On the other hand, the East Turkestan case is Turkey's national cause.Responsibility should not be left on associations that have been established by those who emigrated from East Turkestan.All political parties should get together and determine Turkeys politics on East Turkestan.Accusations made towards each other regarding East Turkestan should be left aside and start to act with the consciousness of it being a national case.
7. The case of East Turkestan should be the first on the agenda of the Islamic world and should be a common language among Islamic countries. Turkey should host an international East Turkestan conference to perform activities and must use this conference to strengthen diplomatic, political, economic and bilateral relations.
8. Member states of the Islamic Cooperation Organization must decide on political and economic sanctions against China.
9. In order to understand what is happening in East Turkestan an international independent fact-finding mission should be established and immediately be sent to the region.The delegations should be allowed to investigate other cities not only the capital, Urumqi. The outgoing committee should consist of people who have a good historical background and must know the violations in East Turkestan. The members of should be civil names who will not be affected by the orientation and pressure of the Chinese government.
10. The case in East Turkestan should not be allowed to be used in the fight between the West and China. The leaders of the case should reside in one the Islamic countries and carry their work from here.
11. Barriers against humanitarian assistance must be removed and aid distribution should be allowed in each point of East Turkestan.NGO's of the Islamic world should open offices in the region.
12. To understand the structure of China's government and foreign policy in a much better state a committee must be established and the universities should work in this area to support the committee. Words such as “democracy, terrorism, unit of China” and so on are opposed by the Chinese government and lead to more pressure on the region.
13. The visit of leaders of the Islamic world boosts the morale and makes the people in East Turkestan happy.However, the massacre carried out by the Chinese government after every visit should be read as a message by the people of East Turkestan and leaders. The visits made and language used should be determined accordingly to the message.
14. Turkey should be more helpful to the people of East Turkestan who have migrated in meeting their basic needs and residency; all administrative and political barriers must be removed.
15. There are thousands of businessmen from Turkey who have gradually settled in East Turkestan and China. The number of investors only in Urumqi is over two thousand.Businessmen who come trade with China is said to be tens of thousands. Yet there are many Turkish students who go there to pursue their education. All of these elements contribute to the East Turkestan case.
16. China as an economic market is dependent on the Islamic world. The economic relations between the Islamic and China should be examined in detail and must be used for the peace in the region.
17. The UN Security Council is unable to show the necessary sensitivity towards the East Turkestan case due to China's veto power. The UN General Assembly should use every opportunity to stand by the council's oppressed people of East Turkestan.
18. Asia, Middle East, Europe or Africa; Turkic Republics, wherever they are civilian and official authorities, parliaments, NGOs, international courts and international structures must take action against the persecution in China.
19. Islamic countries should open embassies in East Turkestan, humanitarian organizations and should also take the initiative to establish branches of Islamic universities. A T.C. (Turkish Republic) Urumqi Consulate General should be opened.
20. The use of false and old images to tell the world what is happening in East Turkestan is damaging not supporting the case. Necessary communication channels should be established to explain in most accurate ways of the rights that are being violated. The case should be conveyed to the world by preparing web sites, magazine, books and movies.
21. Turkish government agencies conducting intensive humanitarian activities abroad such as TIKA, Yunus Emre Foundation and the Ministry of Religious Affairs should urgently establish representative offices in the region. Turkish Airlines should start direct flights to Urumqi.
22. Ministry of Religious Affairs should strengthen its ties with the region, more students should be brought down and introduced to special classes. Books should be published in Chinese as well as Uighur and distributed in the region.
23. A special structure should be established for students with the scope of Scholarships given by Turkey to those from the region and NGOs dealing with them should be supported.
24. In order to strength struggle against the fight in East Turkestan cooperation between East Turkestan organizations such as experience sharing should be ensured; Development and training of individuals as well as organizations who support the struggle of East Turkestan should also be supported.Aims and objectives of organizations working in East Turkestan should be expressly declared to the international community. The differences in goals and objectives should not be perceived as a conflict.
25. A global platform for the civil struggle for East Turkestan should be established.
26. World women's rights organizations should be working for the violations suffered by the women of East Turkestan.
27.The world is unable to obtain information in regards to the situation in East Turkestan. The contact between regional media channels and organizations must be ensured. An independent news agency in relation to the East Turkestan case must be established and data sharing should be supported.By using all means of mass communication made through propaganda the oppression and persecution taking place in East Turkestan can be deciphered. Using the media effectively can aid in notifying the international community rapidly.Literature related foundations and organizations, can translate artefacts in Uyghur in different languages to explain the case of East Turkestan. The attention of broad masses of people may be drawn to the issue and generate awareness. Within the same context, exhibitions, short films can be prepared to describe the humanitarian situation in the region.
28. Although associations and organizations who carry out studies related to East Turkestan, they lack of professional staff which in return makes it difficult to take serious steps in regards to the issue.The amount of trained and education people from East Turkestan must be increased. The youth of East Turkestan should be supported to receive training and education at universities in particularly in Turkey and Islamic countries.
29. Impartial investigations towards China's appeal committee should be established and delegations should conduct investigations in this area.
30. Among Muslims living in China, irrespective of their ethnicity, facilities for Islamic brotherhood cooperation should be undertaken.
31. Communication with China is the key solution for the East Turkestan case. Chinese people who live in China and are for justice and human rights bear majority of the responsibility. On one hand there should be an effort for the elimination of the threat of atmospheric pressure and trying to end the persecution, on the other, an intense pressure needs to be established to remove obstacles towards the freedom of association and expression.The most effective power between civilian organizations, without a doubt would be Chinese civil liberation organizations in China who are in favour of human rights and justice.
32. In order to contribute to an internationally lawful solution in relation to the East Turkestan case, platforms consisting of international law expert lawyers in this field should be established.
33. People who have forcibly left East Turkestan to be asylum seekers, migrants, refugees etc. in other countries should be ensured to have the benefits of human rights and liveable conditions.No state should deport Uighurs back to China- who does not guarantee them the freedom of rights.
34. Intellectuals, authors, leaders and other prominent personalities from East Turkestan should be supported. Including those in prison in East Turkestan people should be internationally promoted.
35. There should be a budget increase for the institutions and organizations who are working in relation to the East Turkestan case.
36. Possibility of joining forces with other nations exposed to China's oppression should be investigated.