Turkey detains six suspected of spying on Uyghurs for China

Workers clean debris after, according to Syrian state media reports, several Israeli missiles hit a residential building in the Kafr Sousa district, Damascus, Syria February 21, 2024. REUTERS/Firas Makdesi

Turkish authorities have detained six people suspected of spying on Uyghurs in Turkey for China’s intelligence service, and another suspect was being sought by police, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

Prosecutors in Istanbul identified seven people believed to be gathering information on notable individuals from the Uyghur community and some associations tied to them in Turkey, Anadolu said, without providing further details.

Some 50,000 Uyghurs are estimated to live in Turkey, the largest Uyghur diaspora outside Central Asia. Turks have close ethnic, religious and linguistic ties to the Uyghurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language.

Beijing has come under scrutiny – including from Ankara – over its treatment of its Uyghur minority. The Chinese embassy in Turkey did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Anadolu report.

Last month, Turkish authorities detained 34 people suspected of being linked to Israel’s Mossad intelligence service and of targeting Palestinians living in Turkey. The MIT intelligence service has since carried out other operations against suspected Mossad agents in Turkey.


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