Chinese Documents Show Beijing Tried to Extradite Uighur Man from Turkey

A Uyghur man in front of a wall painted with slogans, Xinjiang Province, 2012 (Stringer/Reuters)

Documents from the Chinese government show that Beijing requested the extradition of a Uighur man who left China amid the communist country’s continued oppression of his Muslim community and fled to Turkey.

A 2016 document asks for the extradition of Enver Turdi, who in 2014 fled Xinjiang in northwest China, where there is a large community of Uighur Muslims, and since then has resided in Turkey, Axios reported Wednesday. Other documents include police reports and documentation that the Turkish Ministry of Justice accepted Beijing’s request. The documents were obtained by Turdi’s lawyer earlier this year.

In the years before he left China, Turdi said he provided information about abuses by the Chinese Communist Party to Radio Free Asia and to Uighur organizations. One of his associates was subsequently detained. He was denied a new passport by the Chinese Embassy in Turkey in 2015, and two years later was sent to a deportation facility, where he remained for a year. While there, Turkish officials accused him of running a website promoting the Islamic State, a charge Turdi denies. His case was sent to a criminal court rather than an immigration court, where it is remains pending.

Turdi’s case highlights the plight of Uighur Muslims in China, whose culture Beijing has chosen to suppress in the name of national cohesion.

The Chinese government has detained since 2017 an estimated one million if not more Uighur Muslims and other minorities in “re-education camps” around Xinjiang, which are designed to instill a sense of loyalty to the government. Around 80,000 Uighurs have been forced to work in factories, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute estimated.

China claims that the detention camps are for voluntary education and training and are used to combat extremism, but Chinese government documents leaked last year detail how the facilities are run with extreme control over their residents.

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