Due to Anti-Chinese demonstrations in Istanbul over the past weekend, China’s embassy in Ankara, Turkey issued a warning to Chinese travelers who were planning on making a trip to Turkey. According to United Press International, the warning claimed that some Chinese tourists were being attacked during protests. The anti-Chinese demonstrations have been taking place because of “alleged mistreatment of ethnic Uighurs in western China.”
Uighurs are a Muslim minority in China, the Wall Street Journal reports that Uighurs who leave China often head to Istanbul. While there is no statistic that has been provided about how may Uighur’s live in Turkey, it is estimated that there are about 20,000.
The recent interactions between China and Turkey started when a diplomatic note was sent from Turkey to China, the note expressed concern that the Uighur people were not being allowed to fast during Ramadan. This led to the Anti-Chinese demonstrations which have targeted tourist, the Chinese embassy in Turkey and a Chinese restaurant in Turkey.
These concerns that the Uighurs weren’t being allowed to pursue their religious freedoms were denied by China. According to CIHAN, “China has no ‘ethnic problem’ in its far west, and Muslim Uighur minorities there enjoy freedom of religion,” the Foreign Ministry has responded.
The Foreign Ministry has also said, “Uighurs live and work in peace and contentment and enjoy freedom of religion under the rules in the constitution. So the so-called ‘Xinjiang ethnic problem’ you mentioned that has been raised in some reports simply does not exist.”
Any Chinese tourists in Turkey are encouraged to not travel alone and to photograph protesters.