Beijing, Ankara clash over Uighur poet

UPSOT Whether he knows it or not, this man is at the heart of a diplomatic spat between China and Turkey. The Turkish foreign ministry claimed that Abdurehim Heyit, a Uighur poet and musician, had died in Chinese custody... after being sentenced to 8 years in jail for one of his songs. Its statement on Saturday also made a series of strong-worded criticism against China's treatment of Uighurs.... the predominantly Muslim minority who share ethnic and linguistic roots wiyh Turks. SOT statement"It is no longer a secret that more than one million Uighur Turks incurring arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in internment camps and prisons. ""The reintroduction of internment camps in the 21 st century and the policy of systematic assimilation against the Uighur Turks carried out by the authorities of China is a great shame for humanity."China quickly responded... posting a video, in which a man, supposedly Heyit himself, gave Sunday's date and stated he was in good health. Its foreign ministry spokesperson also accused Turkey of "double standards".SOT HUA Chunying"The Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson's statement was vile. ""Turkey is also a multi-ethnic country and faces the threat of terrorism. Adopting double standards on the issue of counter-terrorism will harm itself as well as others "

In 2017, the Beijing government legalised what it called "re-education centres" for ethnic Uighurs in Xinjiang, aimed at tackling extremism. Human rights groups see them as internment camps to torture and brainwash the ethnic minority. Turkish president Recep Tayyp Erdogan has styled himself as a defender of the world's Turkic peoples, and Beijing's 2009 crackdown on Uighurs as "genocide". But Ankara had thus far been silent in the face of a global outcry over the camps' legalisation.

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