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China issues travel warning in Turkey after protests

Demonstrators protested China's treatment of its ethnic Uighur population.

By Ed Adamczyk
China issues travel warning in Turkey after protests
The Turkish-owned "Happy China" restaurant was a target of anti-Chinese demonstrators in Istanbul. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

ANKARA, Turkey, July 6 (UPI) -- China's embassy in Ankara, Turkey, issued a travel warning Monday, claiming some Chinese tourists were attacked during protests in Turkey.

Anti-Chinese demonstrations in Istanbul over the weekend focused on alleged mistreatment of ethnic Uighurs in western China. Protesters were seen chasing a group of Korean tourists whom they mistook as Chinese, the Turkish-owned "Happy China" restaurant was attacked and Chinese flags were burned.

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A diplomatic note was sent last week by Turkey to China, expressing concern that Uighurs, a Muslim minority within China, were forbidden from fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Beijing denied that any restrictions were placed on Uighur religious practices.

Turkey has close ties with the Uighur population, in religious, ethnic and cultural connections.

In a statement, the Chinese embassy advised Chinese tourists in Turkey to avoid traveling alone, or to photograph protesters. Ethnic tensions in western China have increased with the arrival of majority Han Chinese in western China, particularly in the provincial capital of Xinjiang, and increased complaints by indigenous Uighurs they face discrimination and persecution.

Last week Chinese state media accused Turkey of fermenting tension in China.

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"The Turkish government has already on multiple occasions unreasonably interfered in Chinese internal politics, which indicates 'Pan-Turkism' still exists in modern Turkish society. We can see that Turkey has ulterior motives regarding interference in the Xinjiang issue," Xinjiang University professor Adilijan Ablet in a state-run newspaper.

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