Turkish PM told to take back Xinjiang genocide remark
An official Chinese newspaper urged Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday to take back remarks that genocide was being committed in China's Muslim region of Xinjiang, where rioting left at least 184 dead, Reuters reported.
In Xinjiang's worst ethnic violence in decades, Uighurs attacked Han Chinese, the country's predominant ethnic group, in regional capital Urumqi on July 5 after police tried to break up a protest against fatal attacks on Uighur workers at a factory in south China.
Han Chinese launched revenge attacks two days later.
In an editorial headlined "Don't twist facts", the English-language China Daily said the fact that 137 of the 184 victims were Han Chinese "speaks volumes for the nature of the event".
The death toll included 46 Uighurs, a Turkic people who are largely Muslim and share linguistic and cultural bonds with Central Asia.
The newspaper urged Erdogan to "take back his remarks ... which constitute interference in China's internal affairs".
More than 1,600 people were wounded and more than 1,000 detained in an ensuing crackdown.
In comments broadcast live on NTV television last Friday, Erdogan told reporters: "The incidents in China are, simply put, a genocide. There's no point in interpreting this otherwise."
He called Chinese authorities to intervene to prevent more deaths.
Turkish nationalists see Xinjiang as the easternmost frontier of Turkic ethnicity. Thousands of Uighurs live in Turkey.
Turkey has sought to boost ties with China, the world's third-biggest economy. President Abdullah Gul last month became the first Turkish president to visit China in 15 years, signing $1.5 billion worth of trade deals, according to Turkish media.
Gul also visited Xinjiang during his trip.