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Turkish Minister urges for China apology after harassment at airport
A diplomatic scandal emerged at Urumqi Airport as Chinese police harassed Turkish Minister who were on official visit in the country to mend ties
Wednesday, 02 September 2009

A diplomatic scandal emerged at Urumqi Airport as Chinese police harassed Turkish Minister who were on official visit in the country to mend ties

Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan, who has red, green and grey passport, was forced to comply the same procedures with other passengers at Urumqi Airport on the last day of his official visit to China.

Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan called killings "genocide" during the Chinese crackdown.

He said: "The incidents in China are, simply put, a genocide. There's no point in interpreting this otherwise."

Zafer Caglayan is in China as the special representative of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He is the first Turkish minister visiting China after the killings of Uyghurs in East Turkistan. Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan, who met Wen on Erdogan's behalf, extended an olive branch, according to China's foreign ministry.

Anadolu news agency quoted Chinese Primer Wen Jiabao as saying he was "pleased" with Caglayan's visit to his country as a special envoy of Erdogan, adding that Caglayan's visit was "a sign of importance."


According to Turkish newspaper Milliyet, Chinese police tried to body-search Minister Caglayan and the Turkish committe that was about to leave Urumqi to go Ashkabat.

Even Chinese foreign office representatives could not prevent the police's intervention. Then Caglayan left the passport control point with Turkish ambassador to China Murat Esenli. After some discussions, Caglayan came back to the passport area, but security guards attempted to search Turkish minister once more. Caglayan's guards had a row with Chinese security for a short time.

Turkish State Minister Zafer Caglayan was seen very nervous as he sat in the airport waiting room, he asked Turkish ambassador Esenli to send a diplomatic note to Chinese foreign office and a letter to condemn the incident.

Caglayan said, "Unless Chinese side apologizes for this disrespect act, I will call off the meeting of Joint Economic Committee scheduled for this month."

Uyghur demonstrators took the streets in Urumqi on July 5 to protest against Han Chinese attacks on Uyghurs workers at a factory in south China in June which left two Uyghurs dead. Hans in Urumqi sought bloody revenge two days later.

China officially raised the death toll to 197 in police crackdown, but accepted to kill only 12 Uighurs.

A video appeared showing Chinese lynchings that sparked Uyghur protests. Exiled Uyghur leaders said the protests were peaceful until security forces overreacted with deadly force.
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