Uyghurs in Turkey filed a criminal case with a Turkish prosecutor against Chinese officials for committing genocide in Xinjiang province.
Lawyer Gulden Sonmez said on Tuesday that it was necessary because international bodies had not acted against Chinese authorities, who have been accused of facilitating forced labour by detaining about a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in forced camps since 2016, according to Al Jazeera.
About 50,000 Uyghurs with whom Turks share ethnic, religious and linguistic connections are believed to reside in Turkey, the largest Uyghur diaspora outside Central Asia.
The complaint was filed on Tuesday with the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office and China’s embassy in Turkey and the prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“The international criminal court should have already started this trial, but China is a member of the [United Nations] Security Council and it does not seem possible within this dynamic,” Sonmez said outside the city’s main court.
Surrounding the lawyer were more than 50 people holding photos of missing family members and signs calling for the prosecution of Chinese officials, according to Al Jazeera.
China initially denied the camps existed, but has since said they are vocational centres and are designed to combat extremism and it denies all accusations of abuse.
Earlier, some Turkish Opposition leaders have accused the government of overlooking Uighur rights in favour of other interests with China.
Further, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in July last year that it was important to Turkey that Uyghur Muslims lived in peace as “equal citizens of China”, but said Turkey respected China’s national sovereignty.
United Nations experts and rights groups estimate more than a million people, mainly from the Uyghur and other Muslim minorities, have been detained in recent years in camps in Xinjiang, according to Al Jazeera. (ANI)