World Bulletin / News Desk
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Wednesday that Turkey and China "mutually respected each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity" in a clear reference to what Uighurs call East Turkistan.
China once threatened Turkey over the reactions to violence in Uighur that 197 people died in protests on July 5. However, Uighur exile groups said up to 800 people died, many of them Uighurs shot or beaten to death by police.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called killings of Uighurs "genocide", urging on Chinese authorities to intervene to prevent more deaths at that time.
China claims what Uighurs call East Turkistan as a part of its territory and named it "Xinjiang" after imposing its control.
Holding a joint press conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul, Jiechi also said, that China appreciates Turkey's determination in embracing a "single China approach."
East Turkistan, that has 8 million Uighurs, borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is the largest natural gas-producing region controlled by China.
Speaking for his part, Davutoglu underlined that Turkey will contribute to any kind of effort which China is prepared to spend on the cultural and economic life of "Xinjiang" Uyghur Autonomous Region.
He said further: "We have confirmed once again that the Uyghur origin "Chinese citizens" living in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region constitute the "friendship bridge" between Turkey and China and offered our contributions for any efforts towards the region."
Many Uighurs resent Han Chinese rule, complaining they're marginalised economically and politically in their own land, while having to tolerate a rising influx of Han Chinese migrants.
Human rights groups accuse Beijing of using claims of "terrorism" as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity.
Chinese PM to visit Turkey
Yang said that Turkey and China had established formal diplomatic relations 39 years ago, adding that the relations between the two countries were boosting.
Recalling that the Chinese prime minister accepted Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's invitation to Turkey, Yang invited Turkish leaders and people to Shanghai Expo.
Yang said that China wanted to further increase its cooperation with Turkey in every area, adding that the two countries would develop communication between non-governmental organizations and in culture, tourism and education areas.
Turkey had significant influence in the world and in its region, Yang said and stated that Turkey made great contributions to regional and world peace.
Yang noted that the two countries were also cooperating in UN Security Council, adding that the two countries had similar views in fight against global financial crisis and climate crisis.
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