Archive for ‘Turkey’

20/02/2019

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

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11/02/2019

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

BBC
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

10/02/2019

Turkey demands China close camps after reports of musician’s death

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

Turkey has called on China to close its detention camps following the reported death of a renowned musician from the ethnic Uighur minority.

Abdurehim Heyit is thought to have been serving an eight-year sentence in the Xinjiang region, where up to a million Uighurs are reportedly being detained.

A statement from Turkey’s foreign ministry said they were being subjected to “torture” in “concentration camps”.

China described the comments as “completely unacceptable”.

The Uighurs are a Muslim Turkic-speaking minority based in the north-west Xinjiang region of China, which has come under intense surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Their language is close to Turkish and a significant number of Uighurs have fled to Turkey from China in recent years.

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.

What did Turkey say?

In a statement issued on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said: “It is no longer a secret that more than a million Uighur Turks exposed to arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing” in prisons, adding that those not detained were “under great pressure”.

“The reintroduction of concentration camps in the 21st century and the systematic assimilation policy of Chinese authorities against the Uighur Turks is a great embarrassment for humanity,” Mr Aksoy said.

He also said the reports of Heyit’s death “further strengthened the Turkish public’s reaction to the serious human rights violations in Xinjiang” and called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “to take effective steps to end the human tragedy” there.

Presentational grey line

China’s hidden camps

BBC
Presentational grey line

Rights groups say Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities are being detained indefinitely without charge for infractions like refusing to give a DNA sample, speaking in a minority language, or arguing with officials.

What was Beijing’s response?

In a statement quoted by the Associated Press, China through its embassy in Ankara called on Turkey to withdraw its “false accusations”.

“Both China and Turkey face the arduous task of fighting terrorism. We are opposed to maintaining double standards on the question of fighting terrorism,” it said.

“We hope the Turkish side will have a correct understanding of the efforts made by China to legally deploy measures to effectively fight terrorism and extremism, withdraw its false accusations and take measures to eliminate their harmful effects.”

Beijing claims that the detention camps in Xinjiang are “vocational education centres” designed to help rid the region of terrorism.

Speaking last October, the top Chinese official in Xinjiang, Shohrat Zakir, said “trainees” in the camps were grateful for the opportunity to “reflect on their mistakes”.

What do we know about Heyit’s fate?

Amnesty International said it was very concerned about reports of his death, which has not been officially confirmed.

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.

Heyit’s detention reportedly stemmed from a song he 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 Heyit presented a terrorist threat.

Presentational grey line

Who are the Uighurs?

Uighur men read newspapers in Xinjiang (2015)Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

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

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

19/12/2018

Senior CPC official meets Turkish Justice and Development Party delegation

CHINA-BEIJING-YANG JIECHI-TURKISH DELEGATION-MEETING (CN)

Yang Jiechi(R), a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, meets with a delegation of the Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which is led by its deputy chairman Cevdet Yilmaz, in Beijing, capital of China, on Dec. 18, 2018. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)

BEIJING, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) — Yang Jiechi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Tuesday met with a delegation of the Turkish ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which was led by its deputy chairman Cevdet Yilmaz.

Yang, also director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, said China is willing to work with the Turkish side to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state during their sideline meeting at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires.

He said the CPC is willing to make joint efforts with the AKP to deepen the exchange on the experiences of managing the party and the country so as to promote bilateral ties.

Hailing China’s achievements since reform and opening-up 40 years ago, Yilmaz said the AKP is ready to enhance communication and exchange with the CPC to promote bilateral cooperation in fields including the economy, trade, tourism, and anti-terrorism.

04/12/2018

China, Turkey eye closer parliamentary exchanges

CHINA-BEIJING-LI ZHANSHU-TURKEY-BINALI YILDIRIM-TALKS (CN)

 Li Zhanshu (R), chairman of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, holds talks with Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Binali Yildirim at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 3, 2018. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

BEIJING, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — China and Turkey on Monday vowed to strengthen parliamentary exchanges and cooperation to strengthen bilateral ties.

The pledge came as China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu held talks with Binali Yildirim, speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, in Beijing.

Bonded by the ancient Silk Road in the past, China and Turkey are more closely connected today by the Belt and Road Initiative, said Li, chairman of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, adding that the two countries were at a similar development stage, shared common interests, and had great cooperation potential.

Li said the leaders of the two countries had met twice this year, reaching important consensus on developing bilateral relations and on major international and regional issues, and making strategic planning and top-level design for promoting bilateral ties in a new era.

He said that China had always viewed the two countries’ strategic cooperative relationship from a strategic and long-term perspective, and hoped to deepen mutual trust and beneficial cooperation to lift bilateral ties to a new level.

“The Chinese NPC is ready to work with the Grand National Assembly of Turkey to enhance exchanges and cooperation, and make it a priority to implement the consensus reached by the two countries’ leaders,” Li said.

Li suggested the two sides carry out friendly exchanges and provide legal protection for bilateral cooperation, to improve the development of the China-Turkey strategic cooperative relationship.

Yildirim said the two countries had broad prospects for cooperation in many areas, including on co-building the Belt and Road, as well as in trade, railways, tourism and anti-terrorism.

“Turkey firmly adheres to the one-China policy and supports China in combating terrorism,” he said. “The two parliaments should strengthen friendly exchanges, support pragmatic cooperation in all fields, and add impetus to the development of bilateral ties.”

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