Turkey detains six men for spying on Uyghurs for China

Turkish police detained 6 individuals for spying on Uyghurs for China
Banner in support of Uyghurs (Photo: Social Media)

The Turkish police detained six persons in Istanbul, on Tuesday, for allegedly spying on prominent Uyghurs and are looking for more, as per the state-run Anadolu Agency. The six individuals are also charged with spying on institutions and associations connected to the Uyghur community and providing Chinese intelligence with information.

Reportedly, the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s terrorism and organised crime bureau conducted the investigation that led to the arrests. The nationalities of the suspects and the date of the arrests were not mentioned in the report.

With 50,000 or so, Turkey is thought to be home to the greatest Uyghur population outside of Central Asia. It shares ethnic, linguistic and religious ties with the Uyghur community in China. Because of this, the public and government in Turkey have a great deal of sympathy for the plight of the Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region.

Turkey’s foreign policy is designed to create a balance between its rising power China and its western allies. It opposes Beijing’s demands that Uyghurs be extradited from Turkey but supports China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

An extradition treaty was signed between the two countries in 2017 but has awaited ratification by the Turkish parliament since 2019. In recent years, Turkish authorities have increased their efforts to disrupt spy networks. Thirty-four persons were detained by police in January on suspicion of spying for Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency on Palestinians residing in Turkey. Authorities detained several Iranians in 2022 on suspicion of plotting to murder Israelis in Turkey.

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