Chinese and Turkish leaders agreed Thursday to work together to combat terrorism, with Ankara specifically agreeing to crack down on anti-Chinese rhetoric in its media.
The announcement came after a bilateral summit in Beijing between the nations’ top diplomats.
China praised the decision by Turkey to label the East Turkistan Islamic Movement a terrorist organization, state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
The Chinese government has expressed increasing concern over the potential for minority Uighurs who live on the nation’s western border to become radicalized and join Middle Eastern terrorist groups or commit acts of domestic terrorism within China. The Uighur population is largely Muslim and lives in the autonomous province known by the Chinese government as Xinjiang. Locally, Uighurs refer to the region as East Turkistan.
Turkish leaders also promised to eliminate anti-Chinese rhetoric in media reports, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said.
“We take China’s security as our security. We absolutely will not allow in Turkey any activities targeting or opposing China. Additionally, we will take measures to eliminate any media reports targeting China,” he said.
Middle East Eye reported anonymous activists in China said the measure by Turkey would prevent the Chinese people and the international human rights community from learning about potential abuses against the Uighurs by the Chinese government.
“There are few countries in the world where protests about the plight of people inside East Turkistan makes the front page,” said the Uyghur student activist. “We can’t rely on Chinese press to tell us what is really happening to the Uighurs.”
The activists said Turkish media reports are among the most reliable international sources covering the Uighur community and events in the region.
By Eric DuVall