In a landmark case, 19 Uighur Muslims have filed a criminal complaint with a Turkish prosecutor against 112 Chinese officials accusing them of crimes of genocide, torture, rape, and crimes against humanity.
“Turkish legislation recognises universal jurisdiction. Torture, genocid, rape [and] crimes against humanity can be prosecuted in Turkish courts and criminals can be tried” warned lawyer Gulden Sonmen.
The charge relates to 116 people who reportedly remain in detention in China and was filed against 112 individuals, including members of the Chinese Communist Party, directors and officers at labour camps.
UN experts have criticised China’s treatment of the Uighurs and has reported the interment of over a million people in forced re-education camps.
Commenting on the case Sonmez slammed the international community noting their failure to pursue accountability in China.
“The International criminal court should have already started this trial, but China is a member of the [United Nations] Security Council and it does not seem possible within this dynamic” he noted.
Gave his statement surrounded by over 50 Uighurs holding up photos of their missing family members and demanding that Chinese officials face prosecution. Demonstrators were also seen waving the blue-and-white flags of the independent movement of East Turkestan, a group China accuses of threatening stability in the Xinjiang province. Turkey is home to the largest Uighur diaspora outside Central Asia with an estimated 50,000 as part of the population.
Uighurs living in Turkey have criticised the government’s cordial relationship with China after an extradition treaty was signed between the two countries. Turkey’s Foreign Minister insisted that the agreement would not lead to Uighurs being send back to China where they would face persecution.
In July President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly spoke with Chinese premier Xi Jinping and maintained the need for Uighurs to be able to live as “equal citizens of China”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in July that it was important to Turkey that Uighur Muslims lived in peace as “equal citizens of China”, but maintained that Turkey respected China’s national sovereignty.
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