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    Turkey urges restraint in Xinjiang, calls on China to end violence

    Hurriyet Daily News with wires
    08.07.2009 - 15:35 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - Turkish officials on Wednesday called on China to show restraint in dealing with Xinjiang unrest, while the Foreign Ministry summoned the Chinese charges d'affairs in Ankara for consultations.

    "We have been monitoring the incidents with great concern and sorrow," Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told at a televised speech in Istanbul.

     

    "Our expectations is that these incidents, which are of an extreme ferocity, end immediately, restraint dominates, the culprits give account of these [incidents] and the necessary measures are taken immediately in line with the universal principles of human rights," he added.

     

    In some of China’s worst ethnic unrest in decades, which authorities blame on Uighurs, at least 156 people have killed and more than 1,000 injured in riots since Sunday in the regional capital Urumqi.

     

    Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday Turkey cannot "remain indifferent" to the plight of the region's Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs and urged China to end the violence.

     

    "We expect [China] to restore order, bring the culprits to justice in a transparent manner and take steps to improve the civilian humanitarian situation," Davutoglu told at a press conference when asked about the incidents.

     

    Chinese diplomat summoned

     

    Davutoglu said his ministry summoned a diplomat from the Chinese embassy on Tuesday to convey Ankara's "deep concerns," and that he himself would speak by telephone with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi later on Wednesday.

     

    "The Uighurs are a community of ethnic brothers whose fate concerns us," he said. "There is a humanitarian situation there that requires the world’s attention... It is out of the question for Turkey to remain indifferent."

     

    Xinjiang's eight million Uighurs make up nearly half the population of the region, a vast area of deserts and mountains rich in natural resources that borders ex-Soviet Central Asia.

     

    Many Uighurs have sought refuge in Turkey, where some Islamist and nationalist groups lend support to demands for an independent Uighur homeland in the region. But Turkey's official policy has been to support China's territorial integrity and oppose any separatist movements.

     

    About 500 Turks, members of a civil servants’ union and a far-right nationalist group, laid black wreaths in front of the Chinese Embassy before dispersing peacefully. A similar protest was held outside the Chinese Consulate in Istanbul.

     

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