China calls on Turkey to support its fight against Uighur militants

China has called on Turkey to support its fight against militants operating in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, Reuters reported on Friday. 

China has faced international condemnation in recent months over the internment of at least one million Uighurs in so-called re-education camps in Xinjiang. 

After remaining silent for years on China’s treatment of Uighurs, Ankara called on China in February to close the camps, describing them as a “great cause of shame for humanity”. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu urged Beijing to protect freedom of religion and cultural identity during a U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva on February 25. 

China’s Foreign Ministry emphasised importance attached to ties withTurkey in a written statement on Thursday that followed a meeting between Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal and the Chinese government’s top diplomat State Councillor Wang Yi in Beijing. 

“It is hoped that the Turkish side can also earnestly respect China’s core interests in safeguarding national sovereignty and security, and support China’s efforts to combat the ‘East Turkistan’ terrorist forces and safeguard the overall situation of the strategic cooperation between the two countries,” the statement said. 

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry, Önal said during the meeting that Turkey supported China’s efforts to safeguard national unity and combat “terrorist forces”.