news

Turkish protesters march in support of Uyghurs after Ozil comments

Advertisement

Thousands of protesters marched in support of China’s Uyghurs in Istanbul on Friday and voiced solidarity with Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil after the furore caused by his criticism of China’s policies toward the Muslim minority.

Last week, soccer star Ozil, a German Muslim of Turkish origin, posted messages on social media calling minority Uyghurs “warriors who resist persecution” and criticised both China’s crackdown and the silence of Muslims in response.

Members of Istanbul crowd held up banners reading “Stop the cruelty” and chanted “Murderer China, get out of East Turkestan” and “East Turkestan is not alone”, using the name that Uyghur exiles use for Xinjiang.

The United Nations and human rights groups estimate that between one million and two million people, mostly ethnic Uighur Muslims, have been detained in harsh conditions in Xinjiang as part of what Beijing calls an anti-terrorism campaign.

China has repeatedly denied any mistreatment of Uighurs and its foreign ministry said Ozil had been deceived by “fake news”.

“Mesut Ozil’s honourable behaviour inspired us... Everybody should raise their voice against this tyrant like Mesut did,” Adem Adil said, a protester marching with the crowd.

Turkey has in the past expressed concern about the situation in Xinjiang, including in February at the UN Human Rights Council, but has not commented over the Ozil affair.

At the Kuala Lumpur summit on Thursday, a question from the audience on the treatment of Uighurs was ignored after it was put to a dais that included Erdogan, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Last Saturday, club Arsenal tried to distance itself from his comments, saying it always adhered to the principle of not being involved in politics.

Ozil has received support from former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who defended the player’s right to express his opinion.

- Reuters

Advertisement
Advertisement
OR

Welcome back,

Your subscription expires on
  

Your subscription will expire soon, kindly renew before
  

Your subscription is expired
  Click here to renew

You are not subscribed to any subscription package
  Click here to subscribe now

Any questions?
  Email: [email protected]
  Call: +603-777-00000

Renew

>