BEIJING (AP) â€” Beijing expressed displeasure with Turkey on Friday for accepting 173 ethnic Uighurs who fled China.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the Uighurs had left China illegally, & that Beijing opposes "any actions that aid & abet, or even support illegal migration."
"We believe that the international community should share usual responsibility for combating & preventing illegal migration," she told a regular news briefing.
p>The group of Uighurs, mostly women & children, arrived in Istanbul on Tuesday & are being settled in the central city of Kayseri, which has a strong Uighur community.
Turkey has ethnic & linguistic ties to the Uighurs, members of a Muslim ethnic minority in China's far west Xinjiang region. The group has complained of cultural & religious suppression as well as economic marginalization under Chinese rule.
Relations between China & Turkey have been strained over Turkish media reports that Uighurs were banned from worshipping & fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Beijing is moreover waging a war against terrorism in Xinjiang, where ethnic violence has left hundreds of people dead over the past two years. It has blamed religious extremism for the violence.
The 173 people were among approximately 250 Uighurs who were held in Thai camps after fleeing China. Seyit Tumturk, deputy head of the World Uyghur Congress, has said he hoped the remaining refugees would moreover be allowed to leave Thailand.
This story corrects the number of Uighurs to 173 instead of 174.
Source: “Associated Press”