Thu Dec 14 2017, 3:42:08 +03

We voice the problems concerning our brothers living in the Xinjiang: Erdogan said at Iftar

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(Ankara-AlummahWorld, Ramadan 24, 1436, July 11, 2015) During the Islamic month of RAMADAN, unpleasant reports about Chinese authoritarian attitude towards Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang Autonomous Region gaining attention worldwide.

Meeting with foreign ambassadors, serving in Ankara, at an iftar (fast breaking) table, President Erdoğan said: “We voice the problems concerning our brothers living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region at the highest level and will continue to do so. Our Foreign Ministry has conveyed our sensitivity regarding this matter to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China. We will also draw our counterparts’ attention to this issue during our visit to China at the end of this month.”

Turkey Erdogan Iftar party.-3

Beginning his speech by thanking the guests for attending and by voicing his pleasure to share an iftar dinner with them, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized that the virtues of cooperation and solidarity, which Ramadan underscores, are qualities that should be upheld by the 7 billion people on earth as well as the Muslims and said:

“I would like to express that, in this regard, I find our meeting here quite significant and special. An iftar table is a table for everyone whether he/she is a Muslim or whether he/she fasts. The table we set here is a table of sincere conversation that brings the hearts together.”
Expressing that we need the peace, harmony and brotherhood messages of Islam all over the world now more than ever, President Erdogan said: “You are serving as diplomats in Turkey during such a time and witnessing historic breaking points and sufferings in the region first-hand. We are taking risks and contributing to the solution instead of merely watching the problems, difficulties and crises happening in our Southern borders, in Ukraine up north, in our Western neighbor Greece.”

Turkey Erdogan Iftar party.-2

Noting that, they have, on various occasions, declared the world that they share the sufferings of the Ottoman Armenians, which they endured under the extraordinary conditions of the WWI, President Erdoğan said that Turkey is determined to open all its archives for academic research about the 1915 events and provide all kinds of support. Underscoring that their proposal to form a joint history commission still stands, President Erdogan said: “Despite this, the recent developments indicate that this is no longer a historical issue but an extremely political one. Turkey has ardently worked for harmony, peace and friendship between cultures, faiths and civilizations and will continue to do so.”

Uyghur Issue

Regarding the recent developments taking place in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, and the developments happened in Turkey as a result of that, President Erdogan said: “I am planning to pay a visit to China at the end of this month. And the developments, taking place in our country prior to this visit to China, are particularly thought-provoking. I would like to share this with you, our esteemed diplomats. We have kin all over the world. Incidents, taking place in all regions from Balkans to Central Asia, from Crimea to North Africa, directly concern us. In this regard, allegations that our brothers, living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China, are oppressed have caused sensitivity among our people. Particularly the images and news, majority of which are false or fabricated, have made this sensitivity susceptible to abuse. Incidents, which we do not desire to witness and we do not approve of, although they were minor- have taken place in Istanbul. First of all, I would like to express that Turkey stands by the Uyghur Turks in China just like it stands by all its brothers and kin. We voice the problems concerning our brothers living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region at the highest level and will continue to do so. Our Foreign Ministry has conveyed our sensitivity regarding this matter to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China. We will also draw our counterparts’ attention to this issue during our visit to China.”

President Erdogan stated that the political and economic accomplishments achieved in the last 12 years have a great role in enabling Turkey to take this resolute stance and gave examples such as achieving %5 annual growth rate between 2003-2014, attracting over $150 billion foreign capital investment, - $12.1 billion last year, having almost 40 thousand foreign-invested firms operating in the country and increasing the export volume from $36 billion to $158 billion.

Stating that over 100 new diplomatic missions have been opened in Turkey in the last 13 years, the number of foreign missions operating in Turkey has reached 259 and the number of honorary consuls has reached 342, President Erdoğan noted that Turkey is the 6th most widely represented country in the world with its 228 diplomatic missions abroad and they have reciprocally lifted visas with almost 100 countries. The President added: “Surely, these figures portray a certain political and diplomatic power.  The recently developing relations between Turkey and African countries are alone a success story for Turkish foreign policy. Somalia is the best example of our humanitarian diplomacy in Africa. My visit to Somalia in 2011, aiming to draw international community’s attention and to show our solidarity with the Somali people, has ushered in a new era in the country.”

Expressing that in the 5th year of the conflict in Syria, both Turkey’s and international community’s safety are under threat, that there is a terrorist organization backed by the regime in order to be used against the Syrian people, who are fighting for democracy, freedom and honor, President Erdoğan said: “Once again, I condemn the inhuman, barbaric actions of this organization. Their actions have nothing to do with our religion, morals, conscience or culture. We will fight against this cancer cell together and get rid of it.”

“Turkey continues to pursue an open door policy towards the Syrians, fleeing the violence in their country, without any religious and ethnic discrimination.  Turkey currently accommodates 2 million people, 1.7 million Syrians and 300 thousand Iraqis,” said President Erdogan and he further stated: “More than half of the Syrians, who left their country, have taken shelter in our country. There are approximately 250 thousand Syrians in the entire West. When you consider the economic aspect of this matter, Turkey’s economic power is obvious, so is the West’s. We are hosting 2 million people while the West is hosting 250 thousand people.

We have spent over $6 billion so far. Because of the developments in Tal Abyad, we have let over 20 thousand people, most of whom were sick, children, women and old, in our country in the first two weeks of June. We have opened our doors to almost 190 thousand people from Ayn Al Arab, also known as Kobani, within 10 days without any ethnic or religious discrimination. However, a black propaganda campaign was launched against Turkey under the pretext of these incidents. They have voiced a despicable lie that we did not protect our brothers there just because they were Kurdish. They have distorted my remarks that said ‘Kobani is about to fall” and pumped hostility against Turkey. We should all be careful against such campaigns targeting to overshadow the peace and brotherhood of Turkey and the region. I would like to remind this to our esteemed friends, our ambassadors; you all live in Ankara. I believe learning this matter from the direct source, our Foreign Ministry would provide a healthy flow of information to your countries.”

President Erdogan stated that Turkey has spent over $6 billion for the Syrians, who are under temporary protection, while the international sources have provided only $400 million for Turkey and added that this is rather below the expected figure. The President said: “Despite this, we will continue our humanitarian aid efforts.” Recalling that he recently had an iftar (fast breaking) dinner with UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres at the Midyat Camp in Mardin and at that visit, Mr. Guterres said: “I have never seen such an organized camp in anywhere on earth with its education, healthcare and other services,” President Erdoğan said that Turkey will maintain this sensitivity.