Turkey urges China to shut down Uighur concentration camps

A man who identifies himself as Uighur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit was seen in a video posed Sunday

A man who identifies himself as Uighur poet and musician Abdurehim Heyit was seen in a video posed Sunday

The criticism comes after the death of a renowned Uighur musician and poet, Abdurehim Heyit, who was in custody.

In the short clip, Heyit declares, "Today is February 10, 2019".

In the 26-second video posted online by China Radio International's Turkish language service late on Sunday, a man dressed in a grey sweater identifies himself as Heyit before declaring himself to be in "good health". "I'm now in good health and have never been abused".

"We hope the Turkish side will have a correct understanding of the efforts made by China to legally deploy measures to effectively fight terrorism and extremism, withdraw its false accusations and take measures to eliminate their harmful effects", it said.

Beijing says the "vocational education centres" help people stay clear of terrorism and allow them to be reintegrated into society.

Turkey has called on China to close its Muslim internment camps, which are a "great embarrassment for humanity".

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More than 1 million Uighurs are being tortured and "politically brainwashed" in camps and prisons in China, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement on the ministry's website on Saturday. They mainly reside in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in western China.

"It is no longer a secret that more than 1 million Uighur Turks - who are exposed to arbitrary arrests - are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in concentration centers and prisons", Aksoy said in the Turkish Foreign Ministry statement.

Turks held small protests in cities nationwide to condemn China's human rights violations against Uighurs, Turkey's state-run news agency Anadolu reported on Sunday.

Compared to China's ethnically homogenous Han majority, Uyghurs are an ethnic group of Turkic origins who have been slowly outnumbered since widescale Han migration to Xinjiang began after 1949.

"We call on the worldwide community and the Secretary General of the United Nations to take effective measures in order to bring to an end this human tragedy in Xinjiang", Aksoy said in a statement, published on the ministry's official website late on Saturday.

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