China should take steps to reverse negative image on Uyghurs: Fidan

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has reiterated Türkiye's commitment to China's sovereignty but also called on Beijing to take steps to reverse its negative image on Uyghur Turks, who have been subject to pressures from the central government.

Fidan, on the last stop of his three-day trip to China, visited Urumqi and Kashgar, two important provinces of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The minister has become the highest-ranking Turkish official visiting the region since 2012. Ankara has always been keen on human rights of the Uyghurs in China, pressing on Beijing to respect the democratic rights of the Muslim Turks.

In Urumqi, Fidan met the Chinese Communist Party Secretary of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region Ma Xingrui and the region's governor, Erkin Tuniyaz. Earlier in Beijing, Fidan held talks with Vice President Han Zheng and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The Turkish diplomatic sources described Fidan's meetings with Chinese officials were very useful in conveying the messages, especially regarding the situation in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.

Fidan underlined once again that Türkiye respects China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and repeated the importance of Uyghur Turks with whom Turks have ethnic, religious and cultural bonds, sources said.

Uyghur Turks constitute a bridge between China and the Turkic world as well as between China and the Islamic world, Fidan told his counterparts.

"We will be very pleased to see Uyghur Turks and all other people living in China enjoy peace and prosperity," Fidan stressed, underlining the importance of the protection of the cultural rights and values of the Uyghur Turks for the Turkic and Islamic world.

According to the sources, citing the sensitivity of the...

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