Archive for ‘Recep Tayyip Erdogan’


Channel storm damaged Russian S-400 missiles bound for China

S-400s in Crimea, Nov 2018Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionSince annexing Crimea in 2014 Russia has deployed S-400 missiles there

A storm in the English Channel damaged S-400 anti-aircraft missiles that Russia was shipping to China, but now they are being replaced, Russia says.

The ship with its damaged cargo returned to Russia last March, but two other Russian ships delivered S-400s to China successfully.

The deal was reported by the Russian government website Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

China is under US sanctions for buying S-400s and other Russian arms. India and Turkey are also buying S-400s.

A Russian arms industry chief, Dmitry Shugayev, said Russia would complete the delivery of the S-400s to China by the end of 2020.

China is getting two regimental units, which amounts to at least 128 missiles.

The S-400 surface-to-air missile system at Hmeimim airbase in Syrian province of Latakia (16 Dec 2015)Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe S-400 missile system is deployed at Russia’s Hmeimim airbase in Syria

The S-400 “Triumf” is one of the most sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems in the world. It has a range of 400km (248 miles) and one S-400 integrated system can shoot down up to 80 targets simultaneously.

Russia says it can hit aerial targets ranging from low-flying drones to aircraft flying at various altitudes and long-range missiles.

The US sanctions are aimed at putting pressure on the Russian government over its annexation of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine in 2014.

In October, India signed a $5bn (£3.9bn) deal to buy five S-400 regimental units. That amounts to at least 320 missiles. Each S-400 launch vehicle – a heavy lorry – carries four missiles.

Russia has deployed S-400s to protect its military airbase at Hmeimim in Syria.

Turkey, a Nato member, is buying S-400s despite US warnings. The US wants to sell Patriot missiles, made by Raytheon Co, to Turkey instead. The US argues that S-400s are incompatible with Nato systems.

“We made the S-400 deal with Russia, so it’s out of the question for us to turn back. That’s done,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Neither Turkey nor India are yet under US sanctions over the purchases.

How the S-400 system works

Diagram of how S-400 missile system works
  1. Long-range surveillance radar tracks objects and relays information to command vehicle, which assesses potential targets
  2. Target is identified and command vehicle orders missile launch
  3. Launch data are sent to the best placed launch vehicle and it releases surface-to-air missiles
  4. Engagement radar helps guide missiles towards target.

Source: The BBC


China retaliates after Turkey’s claims about Abdurehim Heyit

screenshot of video appearing to show Abdurehim HeyitImage copyrightCRI
Image captionA screenshot of the footage appearing to show Mr Heyit

China has railed at Turkish claims it is mistreating its Uighur minority, after a dispute about the fate of a prominent musician.

Turkey cited reports Abdurehim Heyit had died in a detention camp, and called China’s treatment of the Uighurs a “great embarrassment for humanity”.

China then released a video allegedly showing Mr Heyit alive.

The Uighurs are a Muslim minority in north-western China who speak a language closely related to Turkish.

They have come under intense surveillance by the authorities and up to a million Uighurs are reportedly being detained. A significant number of Uighurs have fled to Turkey from China in recent years.

China has asked Turkey to revoke its “false” claims. A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said the musician was “very healthy”.

“We hope the relevant Turkish persons can distinguish between right and wrong and correct their mistakes,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters.

What is in the video?

The video was released by China Radio International’s Turkish-language service, which said Turkey’s criticism of China was unfounded.

Dated 10 February, the video features a man said to be Mr Heyit stating that he is in “good health”.

He gives the date of the video and says he has “never been abused”.

The man is wearing civilian clothes, and is speaking the Uighur language.

What did Turkey say?

Turkey foreign ministry had said that detained Uighurs were being subjected to “torture” in “concentration camps”.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said the reports of Mr Heyit’s death “further strengthened the Turkish public’s reaction to the serious human rights violations in Xinjiang”.

China has described the comments as “completely unacceptable”.

Meanwhile Nury Turkel – chairman of the US-based Uyghur Human Rights Project – told the BBC that some aspects of the video were “suspicious”.

Mr Turkel says China has the technology to doctor the footage and said it was “their responsibility to prove the video is authentic”.

So far, few Muslim-majority countries have joined in public international condemnation of the allegations.

Analysts say many fear political and economic retaliation from China.

Presentational grey line

Turkey’s strategic blunder?

By John Sudworth, BBC News, Beijing

Critics have long seen Turkey’s silence over the plight of China’s Uighurs as a strategic blunder, undermining President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s lofty claim to moral leadership of the Muslim world.

But belatedly basing its condemnation of China’s system of internment camps on a wrongful claim of a death in custody might be seen as an even bigger blunder.

That is certainly the view of China’s foreign ministry. “The video clip has provided very good evidence for the truth,” the ministry’s spokeswoman said.

In reality, it’s impossible to verify anything about the status of Abdurehim Heyit. Before the claims of the musician’s death, and China’s quick rebuttal, there had been no official word about his detention at all.

Like hundreds of thousands of Uighurs, he had simply disappeared into a legal black hole.

And the video bears all the hallmarks of the forced, televised confessions regularly produced by the combined efforts of China’s Communist Party-controlled courts, police investigators and state-run media.

China has been quick to claim that the reports of Mr Heyit’s death prove that much of the criticism of the situation in Xinjiang is based on falsehoods.

But critics will continue to argue that the confusion – stemming from the lack of any independent scrutiny – shows precisely why there’s such growing concern, even, finally, in Turkey.

Presentational grey line

China’s hidden camps

Presentational grey line

What do we know about Heyit’s fate?

Heyit was a celebrated player of the dutar, a two-stringed instrument that is notoriously hard to master. At one time, he was venerated across China. He studied music in Beijing and later performed with national arts troupes.

Mr Heyit’s detention reportedly stemmed from a song he had performed, titled Fathers. It takes its lyrics from a Uighur poem calling on younger generations to respect the sacrifices of those before them.

But three words in the lyrics – “martyrs of war” – apparently led Chinese authorities to conclude that Mr Heyit presented a terrorist threat.

Who are the Uighurs?

The Uighurs make up about 45% of the population in Xinjiang.

Media captionJohn Sudworth reports from Xinjiang, where one million Uighurs have reportedly been detained

They see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

In recent decades, large numbers of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) have migrated to Xinjiang, and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.

Xinjiang is officially designated as an autonomous region within China, like Tibet to its south.

Source: The BBC

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