Istanbul march denounces ‘persecution’ of Uighurs

Hundreds of people staged a march Friday in Istanbul to protest human rights violations in East Turkistan.

The Silent Scream march, organized by Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), urged Muslims to raise their voices against China's systematic campaign against Uighur Muslims.

China is accused of carrying out repressive policies against the Turkic Muslim group and restraining its religious, commercial and cultural rights.

Gathering in front of the Fatih Mosque in the district carrying the same name, demonstrators marched to the Beyazit district carrying Turkish and East Turkistan flags in Uighur sky blue.

They chanted slogans, including: East Turkistan is not alone, Tyrants will surely account and Muslims, do not sleep, protect your brother.

Banners that read Chinese Invaders Get Out of East Turkistan, Independence For East Turkistan, Close the Concentration Camps and Freedom for People of East Turkistan were also carried.

IHH head Bulent Yildirim thanked the crowd for not leaving East Turkish alone. How could East Turkistan be freed? How could the persecution of people there be averted? We all will work together. Our way is not short but is not long as well, Yildirim said.

The main cause behind the Chinese persecution is economic concerns as East Turkistan is situated along the ancient Silk Road and 70% of China's underground resources are in East Turkistan, he said.

Calling on Muslim countries to take a joint step against China, he said, Oh, Muslim ummah, do not sacrifice East Turkistan for trade.

"Turkey has always stood by East Turkistan and will hopefully continue like this, the IHH head added.

Uighurs, worried about their lives under the long-standing Chinese occupation, are trying to survive without their most basic needs, according to a written statement said by the IHH.

Up to 1 million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in the Xinjiang region, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of "political re-education" camps, according to U.S. officials and UN experts.

Human Rights Watch accused Beijing of carrying out a "systematic campaign of human rights violations" against Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, in a report last September.

Source: Anadolu Agency