Skip to main content

Turkey spars with China over Uyghurs, but is it real?

Turkey’s opposition and some Uyghur activists remain doubtful on how committed Ankara is to defending the rights of the Uyghurs despite its recent spat with Beijing.
Erdogan xi
Read in 

Turkey has acknowledged an ebb in ties with China over Beijing’s treatment of its Uyghur minority, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s record suggests he will try to avoid any move that could damage relations.   

At home, Erdogan faces protests by the Uyghur diaspora over allegations that Uyghurs who are wanted by Beijing are being handed over to China. The Turkish president is also under pressure from the opposition to take a firmer defense of the Muslim minority inhabiting China’s Xinjiang region. The Uyghurs' Turkic origin resonates strongly with Turkey’s nationalist quarters, including the base of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the de facto coalition partner of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP). The issue is often brought up in parliament by the Good Party in a bid to corner the government and the MHP, with which it shares nationalist grassroots.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.