EAST TURKESTAN

With a history of over 2000 years East Turkistan is an ancient civilization center that has been shaped by Islamic culture for 12 centuries. East Turkistan is a land where Huns, Tuobas, Göktürks, Uyghurs, Kara-Khanids, Ghaznavids, Khwarezmids and Seljuks ruled and left their remarks for centuries; it is a fertile land home to hundreds of scholars and influential figures such as Khoja Ahmat Yssawi, Imam Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Ibn Sina (Avicenna), Farabi, Al Beruni, Khwarizmi, Ulugh Beg, Yusuf Khas Hajib Balasaghuni, Mahmud al-Kashgari and Satuq Boghra Khan.

Pearls of East Turkistan Kashgar, Urumqi, Hoten, Aksu and Turfan, Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Chimkent and Almaty, where invaluable Islamic works were composed, are stops of Turkistan and the historical Silk Road that opened doors to many cultures.

Although its name has always been associated with good things, historical lands of Turkistan has been a center for occupations, attacks and massacres, unprecedented pressure efforts for the last two and a half centuries. A single whole with the Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Tajik, Turkmen and Uyghur ancient Turkistan lands were divided and disintegrated by occupations of the Tsardom of Russia and Chinese-Manchu Empire. Fertile towns of the Silk Road that merged love and hope were destroyed one by one, their residents were repressed, and Turkistan started to be recalled with occupation and exploitation. Western Turkistan came under the Russian occupation, while Eastern Turkistan became a center for Chinese invasions. Russia renamed Western Turkistan as “Russian Central Asia” and China renamed Eastern Turkistan as “Xinjiang,” a name for new frontier. This strategic region was seen by the two countries as natural sphere of influence. In line with this policy, Mao Zedong declared East Turkistan as a 2000-year old Chinese territory.

After a long period of occupation Western Turkistan became independent in the wake of the Cold War. East Turkistan that has faced Chinese invasions since the second half of the 18th century is still under occupation. Finally the People’s Republic of China declared it had annexed the region in 1949 and has sustained its unlawful presence in East Turkistan for over six decades.

The Chinese occupation in East Turkistan has resulted in the death of millions of innocent people and the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands. The occupation is assimilating historical and cultural fabric of the region and restricting rights and freedoms of its population. Faced with ethnic and religious discrimination in their homeland, millions of East Turkistanis have found themselves on the path of immigration.

East Turkistani cities and towns, which used to be centers for science and enlightenment, have experienced the genocides, have been turned into places where life has become unbearable due to widespread repression, ethnic and religious discrimination, and economic and social pressures. Stealing of newborn babies on grounds of birth control policies, ban on fasting and mosque attendance, restrictions on education, employment, and health services have become a part of daily life for East Turkistani people. Young Uyghur girls are employed in Chinese cities as cheap labor force or are forced into prostitution. Thinkers, intellectuals and academics, who are like arteries of society, have been passivized or eliminated. Dissemination of information about repression and rights violations in East Turkistan is virtually impossible because of Chinese restrictions.