“I'm grateful for Turkish people's support for Uighur Turks in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's calling the incidents as ‘genocide.' I'm more hopeful for the future of Uighur people thanks to the support of Turkey,” Kadeer was quoted as saying on Sunday in an interview with the Anatolia news agency.
Kadeer, who currently lives in the United States, is accused by the Chinese government of orchestrating the protests in Xinjiang, a charge she has denied. Rioting between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese in Xinjiang has killed 184 people and wounded more than 1,000 in the worst ethnic violence in China in decades. Both Uighurs and the Han have claimed a higher death toll from the strife.
On Friday, Erdoğan said what happened in China's northwest province of Xinjiang was “a sort of genocide” and called on Chinese authorities to intervene to prevent more deaths. “We're having trouble understanding how the Chinese government would remain a bystander to this. We want the Chinese administration, with which our bilateral ties are continuously improving, to show sensitivity,” he said. Muslim Turkey shares linguistic and religious links with Uighurs, and Turkish nationalists see Xinjiang as the easternmost frontier of Turkic ethnicity. Thousands of Uighur immigrants live in Turkey.
Turkey has sought to boost ties with China, the world's third-biggest economy. President Abdullah Gül last month became the first Turkish president to visit China in 15 years, signing $1.5 billion worth of trade deals.