China’s Uyghur Muslim ethnic group, which has a strong presence in Turkey, hailed the US boycott of the Winter Games in Beijing and called on other countries to do the same.
The White House said Monday that US government officials would boycott the Winter Olympics over human rights “atrocities” in China, although US athletes are free to go there to compete.
Many Uyghurs reside in Turkey, with whom Turks share ethnic, religious and linguistic ties. About 50,000 Uyghurs are believed to be living in Turkey, the largest Uyghur diaspora outside of Central Asia.
A 40-year-old Uyghur woman in Istanbul said she welcomed the American action. “China is carrying out genocide against the Uyghur Turks these days, as everyone knows, killing millions of people there,” said Amine Wayit, who spoke in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul where she sells Uyghur products.
“In such a situation, it is ridiculous to organize an Olympics over there in China and in my opinion, it is like casting contempt on all of humanity,” she said.
“It would be right for the whole world to boycott, not just America.”
Chinese authorities have reacted angrily to Washington’s decision. The United States has betrayed Olympic principles and will have to “pay a price” for its diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Games, China said on Tuesday, as key Western allies hesitated to decide whether or not to follow suit. American.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has highlighted as the reason for its boycott what Washington calls genocide against Muslim minorities in the far west region of China, Xinjiang.
China denies all rights violations.
“I think that’s the start of the reaction. Maybe other countries will eventually join America’s boycott decision, ”said Abdusselam Teklimakan, a Uyghur who is chairman of the East Turkestan New Generation Movement.
“This will increase the number of countries on the East Turkestan side and weaken China’s hand.”