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How did the world see FM Fidan’s visits to Xinjiang and Kashgar?

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan visits the city of Kashgar, Xinjiang, June 5, 2024, Anadolu Agency
By Newsrooom
June 7, 2024

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan visited China on June 3-5. In addition to discussing economic opportunities in Türkiye-China relations, Fidan also visited Kashgar and Urumqi.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan visits the tomb of Yusuf Khass Hajib, Kashgar, June 5, 2024. (Anadolu Agency photo)

In his press conference with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Foreign Minister Fidan emphasized that Urumqi and Kashgar are ancient Turkish and Islamic cities, contrary to China’s traditional discourse. The world closely followed Fidan’s visits to Urumqi and Kashgar.

The U.S.-based Voice of America claimed that Fidan’s visit to the Uyghur region caused discomfort in China. According to ABC News, Fidan aimed to draw attention to the rights of Uyghur Turks through this visit. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Fidan urged China to respect the Uyghurs’ efforts to protect their cultural values.

U.S.-based Radio Free Asia, which broadcasts to Asia, also highlighted Fidan’s emphasis on Urumqi and Kashgar as Turkish cities. Al-Monitor, based in Washington and broadcasting to the Arab World, noted that Fidan wore a blue tie during his meeting with Chinese officials, signaling support for the Uyghur flag.

However, Salih Hudayar, a member of the Washington-based East Turkistan Government in Exile, criticized Fidan, stating that his visit was a step to cover up China’s genocide in the region.

The World Uyghur Congress stated that Fidan’s comments “emphasize the historical fact that Urumqi and Kashgar are Turkish and Islamic cities of great historical significance.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan visits the city of Kashgar, Xinjiang, June 5, 2024. (Anadolu Agency photo)

Japan-based The Asahi Shimbun drew attention to Türkiye’s historical and cultural ties with Uyghur Turks.

The Taipei Times, published in Taiwan, China’s separatist region, wrote about Fidan’s visit to China with the headline “Turkish Minister Calls on China to Protect Uyghurs” and noted that Türkiye, which has improved its trade relations with China, showed its sensitivities on this occasion.

India-based New Delhi Times claimed that Fidan’s messages about Urumqi and Kashgar worried China. It also stated that Uyghurs are an important factor in shaping Türkiye-China relations.

Russia-based Top War saw Fidan’s visit to the region as an indication that tensions between Ankara and Beijing over the rights of Uyghurs may have eased.

Modern Ghana, broadcasting from Ghana, wrote that Türkiye hosts the largest Uyghur diaspora in the world.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan visits Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar, June 5, 2024. (Anadolu Agency photo)

The South China Morning Post reported the visit with the headline, “China and Türkiye Agree to Strengthen Cooperation in Counterterrorism.”

China-based Xinjiang Daily wrote that Fidan’s visit increased the sense of trust between Türkiye and China, and that Türkiye cares about China’s territorial integrity.

On the other hand, Li Lifan, an academic at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that Fidan visited the region to encourage businesses in China to invest in Türkiye.

By Newsrooom Last Updated:  Jun 7, 2024 5:45 PM