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China, Turkey: friends or foes?

Turkey's manipulative news reports of China's massacres of fasting Uighurs recently upended China-Turkey relations.
Demonstrators set fire to a Chinese flag during a protest against China near the Chinese Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, July 5, 2015. China warned its citizens travelling in Turkey to be careful of anti-Beijing protests, warning them that some Chinese tourists have recently been "attacked and disturbed". The notice, posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on Sunday, said that there have recently been "multiple" demonstrations in Turkey targeting the Chinese government. The notice gave no details r

Whenever President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gets angry with the European Union over delays on Turkey’s accession, he frequently threatens to head to the Shanghai Five. Turkey is currently trying to improve its relations with China by planning to waive visa requirements for Chinese visitors in 2016. However, Turkey is still unable to cope with the issue of East Turkestan and the plight of the area's Uighur population, oppressed for decades by China’s assimilation policies. Therefore, China’s Xingjian Uighur Autonomous Region, or as Turkish nationalists longingly call it, East Turkestan, is used to easily excite Turkish opinion. 

The latest provocations of the Turkish public was by pro-government papers like Aksam with the headline, “Chinese police massacre 18 fasting Uighurs”; daily Sabah with the headline, “Massacred for fasting: 18 killed”; and daily Takvim with the headline, “Uighurs forced to drink alcohol on Ramadan.” Internet sites and social media also contributed by manipulating the special ambiance of Ramadan with reports claiming that China banned fasting for civil servants, students and teachers in East Turkestan, ordering restaurants to stay open during fasting hours and markets to sell alcoholic drinks.

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