East Turkistan Government In Exile

Restoring Freedom and Independence for East Turkistanis

OPEN LETTER: Appeal to Kazakh Tokayev to protect Uyghurs in Kazakhstan following the Penjim Incident

3 November 2021

H.E. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
President of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Mangilik Yel St. 6
Government House
Nur-Sultan City
Kazakhstan

Dear President Tokayev,

On behalf of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, I would like to extend the heartfelt wishes of the East Turkistani people to Kazakhstan and its people ahead of the 20th Anniversary of Kazakhstan’s Independence on 16 December 2021. We have keenly observed that the spirit of independence has endowed Kazakhstan’s Government and the people of Kazakhstan with a great sense of confidence and competence to achieve numerous historical milestones in a short period. Over the past thirty years, Kazakhstan has advanced from triumph to triumph to become a prosperous, peaceful, and promising country as a role model for other countries in Central Asia and beyond. 

As history testifies, the Kazakhs and Uyghurs have lived side-by-side, sharing similar language, culture, religion, and historical experiences, often coping with common political, natural, and social challenges within the territories of East Turkistan and Kazakhstan, respectively. Notably, more recently, during the 1940s, both Uyghurs and Kazakhs and other Turkic and non-Turkic ethnic groups, such as Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, and Mongols, united, resisting Chinese occupation and successfully established the Second East Turkistan Republic.

This unity was the product of the fact that they all considered themselves bounded by their common Turkic cultural heritage, determination to be free, and aspirations for a happy and prosperous life. This spirit of solidarity and kinship between the two nations has never died out. Despite the occupation of East Turkistan by Chinese forces in 1949, the close bond between Uyghurs and Kazakhs has continued to mature and be mutually beneficial. 

It is well known that there is a sizable Kazakh community in East Turkistan, just as there is a sizable Uyghur community in Kazakhstan. Both the Kazakhs and Uyghurs call their birth country their home, be it Kazakhstan or East Turkistan. Both communities have made a considerable contribution to the advancement of their respective countries, whether it be East Turkistan or Kazakhstan, and the flourishing of their respective communities. 

The recent unfortunate news coming out of Kazakhstan concerning a bloody brawl between Kazakh and Uyghur youths in Penjim seems to have tested this age-old solidarity and kinship. While there is no official account of the unfortunate incident available to us, rumors and unverified descriptions of the event are spreading on various social media that it may have been motivated by hate speech and xenophobia directed against Uyghurs. This incident has deeply concerned the Uyghurs in exile. We fear it can quickly develop into something regrettable, far-reaching, and further damaging if not resolved in an urgent official manner. 

We fear that if this issue is not appropriately addressed, it will erode the trust of Uyghurs and others in Kazakhstan’s legal system and damage our historical bond of solidarity and kinship. Furthermore, we fear that this incident will also play into the hands of malign foreign forces seeking internal disturbance within Kazakhstan to consolidate their influence and control. 

As the Uyghurs and Kazakhs in East Turkistan are going through the darkest time in their history as victims of China’s ongoing genocide against Turkic peoples in East Turkistan, our solidarity and mutual support for one another are needed more than ever. United we stand, divided we fall.

Therefore, we call on Kazakhstan’s Government to start a full investigation into the incident in Penjim and bring those responsible to justice. Furthermore, we call on the Government of Kazakhstan to protect the lives, properties, and rights of Uyghurs residing in Kazakhstan. We believe that Kazakhstan’s Government has the full capacity to do so in a fair, acceptable, and legal way and can work to restore Uyghurs’ trust in Kazakhstan’s justice system and mend the bond of kinship per the founding principle of Kazakhstan’s multicultural society. 

Sincerely,

GHULAM O. YAGHMA
President,
East Turkistan Government in Exile



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