Turkey's accusations on human rights issues in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are "groundless and unacceptable," the Chinese Ambassador to Turkey said on Tuesday after the Turkish foreign minister voiced concerns over China's alleged mistreatment of Uyghurs at a UN Human Rights Council session on Monday.
"Full realization of human rights has long been the goal of all Chinese people, including people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang… who have the same status, enjoy the same rights and fulfill the same obligations according to the law," Chinese Ambassador to Turkey Deng Li said in a statement published on the embassy's official website on Tuesday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu voiced concerns on Monday at the UN Human Rights Council over China's alleged mistreatment of Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang and called on Beijing to protect freedom of religion and cultural identity, media reported.
Cavusoglu also urged China to ensure "full protection of the cultural identities of the Uyghurs."
This was the second time that Turkey has openly criticized China's policies in Xinjiang this year.
In early February, China refuted claims made by Turkey's foreign ministry spokesman alleging that a Uyghur musician had died in Xinjiang. The Chinese Embassy in Ankara confirmed the man is still alive and in good health.
It is not pleasant to see Turkey repeatedly criticize Chinese policy towards Xinjiang. Turkey is making these statements in order to present itself as a great power in the international system, Li Bingzhong, director of the Center for Turkish Studies with Shaanxi Normal University, told the Global Times.
Openly criticizing China is a means by which Turkey can present itself as a leader in the Muslim world, Li noted.
Zan Tao, a professor from Peking University, told the Global Times that given that this time was not the president or higher leader of the country openly criticizing China, Turkey has no intention of damaging good diplomatic ties with China.
Turkey believes that openly bringing up the Xinjiang issue would help their party to win more seats in the upcoming domestic election, Zan noted.
Deng reiterated that the fundamental purpose of the Chinese government's counter-terrorism campaign and de-radicalization work is to ensure the safety and property of all people in China, including people of all ethnic groups in Xinjiang.
These are the actions that all responsible governments should and must take, said Deng. No one knows more than the Chinese people what they need, and no one has the right to dictate Chinese people's efforts to safeguard their own peace and develop their own human rights cause, Deng noted.
The Chinese government fully guarantees the right of all ethnic groups to use their own languages, while promoting the use of the country's common national language, according to Deng.
There are 52 newspapers and 120 magazines printed in the languages of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. Xinjiang Television airs 12 programs in four ethnic languages, Deng said.
Deng also noted that the Chinese government insists on freedom of religion. China has published and translated various classics from Islam, Buddhism and Christianity in multiple languages.
The region is home to more than 25,000 religious venues, including 24,400 mosques. On average, there is a mosque for every 530 Muslims, a proportion that is higher than in Turkey, Deng said.
This was the second time Turkey has openly criticized China's policies in Xinjiang this year.
In early February, China refuted claims made by Turkey's foreign ministry alleging that a Uyghur musician had died in Xinjiang. The Chinese Embassy in Ankara confirmed the man is still alive and in good health.