China announces ratification of extradition treaty with Turkey

The below article was published by France 24, Photo credit: AFP/Peter Parks

China has announced the ratification of an extradition treaty with Turkey, a text that Beijing wants to use, among other things, to speed up the return of certain refugees and Muslim Uighurs suspected of “terrorism”.

Though the Turkish parliament has not yet ratified the bilateral agreement signed in 2017, it has already raised concerns among the large Uighur diaspora (estimated at 50,000 people) present in Turkey.

Turkey has linguistic and cultural ties with the Uighurs and Ankara has long been one of the main defenders of their cause on the international stage, though in recent times Turkey’s public show of support has waned.

In its region of Xinjiang (northwest), China has initiated a policy of maximum surveillance of the Uighurs after numerous deadly attacks against civilians. Beijing has laid the blame for the attack on the Uighur separatist and Islamist movement.

According to foreign experts, the Chinese authorities have interned at least one million people, including Uighurs, in “camps”. Beijing has rejected these accusations from the West saying they are “vocational training centers” intended to help retrain the population to find work and thus move away from extremism.

Some Uighurs believed to be victims of persecution have since fled to Turkey.

“The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has ratified” the Sino-Turkish “extradition treaty”, the Chinese parliament said Saturday evening in a short statement on its website.

However, extraditions could be challenged on several grounds.

In particular, if the state to which the extradition request is submitted considers the application related to a “political crime”, if the person concerned is one of its citizens, or if the latter enjoys the right of asylum.

READ MORE