1,000 protest in Istanbul over China's Uighur treatment

1,000 protest in Istanbul over China's Uighur treatment

Protesters march in support of China's Uighurs in Istanbul. (Reuters file photo)

More than 1,000 protesters marched Friday in Istanbul to protest against China over its treatment of mainly Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, an AFP correspondent said.

They called for an end to the crackdown in China's northwestern region, where upwards of one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are believed to be held in re-education camps.

The demonstrators marched from the Fatih mosque on the city's European side of Istanbul to Beyazit square as part of the protest organised by Turkey's Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).

Some were carrying the flag of 'East Turkestan', the term many Uighur separatists use for Xinjiang, which has a blue backdrop with a white crescent moon.

At one point, some protesters burned a Chinese flag while others carried posters saying: "Close the concentration camps."

Not many Muslim leaders have openly criticised the treatment of Uighurs with the exception of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, which has linguistic and cultural connections with the Uighurs.

Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, a German of Turkish origin, criticised China's actions last week and the Muslim community's silence but has since come under a barrage of attacks from Beijing.