Abdullah Abdülhamit, a Uyghur refugee who was detained and sent to a removal center in İstanbul, faces deportation to China, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the Tamga Türk news website.
Turkish police raided Abdülhamit’s home on the night of December 28. He was first taken to a police station and then to a removal center in the Silivri district of İstanbul. Abdulhamit has been living in Turkey for 10 years according to the website.
Speaking to Tamga Türk, members of the Uyghur diaspora in Turkey fear his deportation to China.
An estimated 50,000 Uyghurs are currently living in Turkey, making it the largest Uyghur diaspora in the world. They have staged daily protests outside the Chinese diplomatic missions in Turkey over the past few years, holding pictures of their relatives and family members with whom they have lost touch for months, and sometimes even years.
China’s treatment of the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities has drawn international condemnation, with human rights groups estimating that some 1 million Uyghurs have been arbitrarily incarcerated in a network of prison camps in Xinjiang. There have also been reports of forced sterilization, systematic torture and rape.
Beijing denies all allegations of abuse of Uyghurs and describes the camps as vocational training facilities to combat religious extremism.
Turkey has been a destination for thousands of Uyghurs fleeing China and home to a sizable Uyghur diaspora. But a Turkey-China extradition treaty signed in 2017 that is still awaiting ratification by the Turkish parliament led to fears that it could be used to target Uyghurs in Turkey.
The Uyghurs have sought refuge in Turkey because of their shared cultural ties.
Turkey, however, has become less vocal about the plight of the Uyghurs in recent years as it has developed economic ties with China.