Yesterday, Turkish Fox News reported that the Covid-19 vaccine, which was supposed to arrive in Turkey from China on December 11th under contract, has been delayed. China is insisting on the return of Uyghur separatists from Turkey to China in exchange for the vaccines, which are being held in customs while discussions continue.
This news is doubly concerning, not only because it endangers the lives of Uyghurs in Turkey, but also because of the brazen politicization of the humanitarian sphere of medicine during a pandemic. This is a heinous crime because China is trying to buy Uyghur activists—in effect for money—by delaying the vaccines. This is also an international crime because China is coercing Turkey to cooperate with China’s Uyghur genocide.
The news is credible and noteworthy: not only was the source of the news the Turkish parliament, where the issue has been raised by lawmakers, but also innumerous facts point to China’s actions to coerce others to cooperate with its brutality toward Uyghurs. For example, China has put pressure on Baidu (a company that is China’s Google equivalent) to hide concentration camps in East Turkestan on its map system and pushed Alibaba to use a face-recognition system to support arbitrary detention of millions of Uyghurs in “re-education” camps.
The recent approval by the Chinese People's Congress of the Turkey-China Criminal Exchange Agreement is yet more proof of the credibility of China's demand to replace the vaccine with Uyghurs.
Turkey needs a vaccine against Covid-19, which kills more than 250 people a day, but I believe that the Turkish people will not meet this need by helping to kill other people, especially their own brothers and sisters . I believe that Turkey will pass this test of humanity.
I urge the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization to investigate China’s actions on this matter and prevent China’s exchange of vaccines for Uyghur “separatists,” called by any name or in any manner.
I remind the international community that China’s violations of international laws and humanitarian norms are increasing because China has not been held accountable for its responsibility for the spread of the coronavirus.
The Leader of the Uyghur National Movement.