03 July 2015
Turkish soccer player Alpaslan Ozturk’s decision to risk fame and wealth by expressing support for the embattled Turkic Uighur minority in Xinjiang reflects pressures in China’s ties to Turkey, its most complex relationship in the Muslim world and a key node on the Silk Road that Beijing hopes to revive with massive investment in infrastructure across the Eurasian land mass.
In Mr. Ozturk’s case, two Chinese clubs could simply penalize the player for his remarks by calling off plans to hire him after he demanded that ten percent of his future salary be donated to Uighurs in ‘East Turkestan.’ By using the term employed by nationalist Uighurs rather than Xinjiang, the Chinese reference to the region, Mr. Ozturk poured fuel on the fire.
In a Facebook posting quoted by Turkish media, Mr. Ozturk, a 22-year-old Belgian-Turkish national, said that “it is not right for me to breath in a country that skins our Muslim brothers alive. I thought so and I decided so. We see it on the television and in newspapers every day. Uighur Turks are being slaughtered since they are fasting (during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan).”
Last updated on 06/07/2015