Beijing warns citizens in Turkey of anti-China protests

Foreign ministry says Chinese tourists recently “attacked and disturbed” in Istanbul protests over treatment of Uighurs.

Relations between Turkey and China have been strained over the treatment of Muslim Uighur people in China's Xinjiang region [AFP]

Beijing has warned its citizens travelling in Turkey to be careful of anti-China protests, saying some tourists have recently been “attacked and disturbed”.

The notice, posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website on Sunday, said there had been “multiple” demonstrations in Turkey targeting the Chinese government.

Relations between Turkey and China have been strained recently over the treatment of Muslim Uighur people in China’s far western region of Xinjiang, who have been banned from worship and fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

RELATED: China bans Ramadan fasting in mainly Muslim region

China’s treatment of the Uighurs is an important issue for many Turks, who see themselves as sharing a common cultural and religious background.

Turkey vowed on Friday to keep its doors open to ethnic Uighurs fleeing persecution.

“Absolutely do not get close to or film the protests, and minimise to the greatest extent outside activities on one’s own,” the Chinese notice said.

The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported that a small group of people last week attacked a Chinese restaurant in Istanbul’s popular Tophane district, smashing windows.

On Sunday, several hundred protesters marched towards the Chinese consulate in Istanbul carrying flags and chanting anti-China slogans outside the building.

Earlier in the day, some of the protesters had burned a Chinese flag.

“They [Uighurs] are our brothers and are being persecuted for their faith,” said 17-year-old Muhammet Gokce, who was wearing a blue headband with the words: “East Turkestan you are not alone.”

“They did nothing wrong, their only fault is to be Muslim. Turkey should embrace its brothers, should save them from the brutal hands of communist China.”

Source: News Agencies