Turkey denies claim it is staffing Daesh with Uighur
China has said many of the 109 Uighur received from Thailand were 'on their way to Turkey, Syria or Iraq to join jihad'

Turkey has called allegations from China that it is sending Uighur to fight alongside Daesh in Syria "laughable," the foreign ministry telling media Wednesday "it is just not true."

Responding to a question alleging Turkish diplomats had given passports to those wanting to travel to the wartorn country, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgic said "these allegations are ridiculous."

"This is not an allegation to even answer; it is laughable," Bilgic added.

China's Ministry of Public Security claimed Saturday that many of the 109 Uighur migrants that Thailand had recently sent to the country had been "on their way to Turkey, Syria or Iraq to join jihad."

Thailand had deported the Uighur after it said it had "clear evidence" they were Chinese nationals.

State news agency Xinhua alleged Saturday that "recruitment gangs were uncovered in Turkey by a Chinese police investigation, which also discovered that Turkish diplomats in some Southeast Asian countries had facilitated the illegal movement of people."

The Uighur were from a group of around 350 people who had been detained in Thai immigration centers for around two years.

Of the 350, around 180 - almost all women and children - have arrived in Turkey, 109 have been sent to China and around 60 are thought to remain in Thailand.

Bilgic said Wednesday that Turkey would host the 60 "if they come," underlining that the country had never refused any guest "who had come to its door."

He added, however, that the country was respectful of China's territorial integrity and sees the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region - where many of the Uighur are suspected of fleeing from - as being part of China.

The Uighur have been at the center of a diplomatic tug-of-war between Beijing and Ankara, with China identifying the Muslims as from Xinjiang, while Turkey has welcomed them as its own.

Many Turks believe that Uighur are among a number of Turkic tribes that inhabit the Xinjiang region, and consider it to be part of Central Asia, not China.

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Last Modified: 2015-07-15 12:14:15
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