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February 5 Gulca Massacre commemoration meeting held in Ankara

Uyghur foundations held a Martyrs Commemoration Meeting and Press Statement in Ankara to mark the 27th anniversary of the February 5 Gulca Massacre.

The Uyghur Academy Foundation, the East Turkistan Research Foundation and the World Uyghur Congress Foundation organized a “Commemoration Meeting for the Martyrs of the February 5, 1997 Gulca Massacre” and a Press Statement in Ankara on February 4, 2023.

The meeting, which was modorated by Prof. Dr. Erkin Emet, was attended by politicians, academics, NGO representatives and journalists, especially Doğan Bekin, Deputy Chairman of Yeniden Refah Party, Istanbul MP, and Fahrettin Yokuş, former Konya MP of İYİ Party.

Prof. Dr. Erkin Emet said: “There is the blood of martyrs on every soil of East Turkistan. On February 5, 1997, Uyghur Turks only wanted justice. Uyghur youth were massacred in front of the police station because they shouted the slogan ‘We want justice’. Images from the massacre in Gulca were published in the world press for the first time. Gulca became a milestone in the East Turkistan cause. China has always had policies to destroy Turks, but after Gulca, the world started to pay attention to this issue.

Abdulhamit Karahan, Secretary General of the Uyghur Academy Foundation, read the press release. In the press statement, he said about the February 5 Gulca Massacre: “As it is known, February 5, 1997 was Laylat al-Qadr night. A group of Muslim Turkish women who wanted to realize this blessed night and spend it in worship gathered in a house and wanted to read the Qur’an, but they were raided by Chinese security forces. Some of the women were forcibly taken to the police station and some of them were brutally murdered, but instead of apologizing to the people, the Chinese communist government rained bullets on the crowd. Hundreds of Muslim Turks were martyred in this massacre and thousands were arrested, imprisoned and tortured. This massacre has caused deep traumas and tremors in the mental world of East Turkestans. Today, while commemorating our brothers and sisters who were martyred during the massacre with deep respect, we would like to announce to the public once again that we will never forget this barbaric massacre of the Chinese communist regime.

In the statement, which also gave information about the present day of East Turkestan, “What the Chinese communist administration is doing today is no different from yesterday. Today, China continues genocide in front of the eyes of the modern world. In the so-called “Vocational Training Centers” they established in East Turkistan, they detain millions of Muslim Turks for no reason, subject them to cruelty and torture unprecedented in human history, rape our women like animals in front of the eyes of all humanity, and trample honor and human dignity. East Turkistanis in the diaspora are experiencing the agony of not being able to contact their families, relatives and friends, and are waiting helplessly in great curiosity and anxiety.

The statement also said, “10 countries have recognized China’s policies in East Turkestan as Genocide, many countries continue their silence. In particular, the Turkish and Islamic world is silently watching.

Speaking at the commemoration meeting, World Uyghur Congress Vice President Assoc. Prof. Dr. Erkin Ekrem said: “East Turkistan, the ancient homeland of the Turks, has always been a field of struggle. It is not possible to talk about the civilization of Turks without the people of this region before Islam. However, after the discovery of sea routes, the fate of this geography changed with the collapse of the Silk Road. Its economy collapsed. Following the economic collapse, culture and civilization also began to collapse. East Turkistan is both the land of Turks and the easternmost land of Muslims. Today, it has again become the center of struggle of great powers. However, Turks can no longer protect themselves because China wants to destroy Turks through cultural assimilation while trying to impose its own identity.

Drawing attention to China’s imperial project Belt and Road project, Doğan Bekin, Istanbul Deputy of Yeniden Refah Party, said: “East Turkistan is the bleeding wound of the whole world. China has recently been scratching this wound with greater audacity. The camps are spreading what Gulca went through to all of East Turkistan. All kinds of assimilation is being done here. The world is silent on this issue. Gulca is an important point of China’s imperial project One Belt-One Road. This place was chosen by China for the future. Assimilation and genocide are practiced. Turkey and the Turkish world should take the necessary steps. Just as South Africa applied to the International Court of Justice for Gaza, the same should be done for East Turkistan. Many countries accept China’s lies in order not to spoil relations with China.

Referring to the United Nations report on China’s policies towards Uyghurs, former IYI Party MP Fahrettin Yokuş said: “Turkey, the Islamic world and world public opinion should have taken action on this report, but everyone remained silent. This report states that crimes against humanity amounting to genocide have been committed in East Turkistan. While this fact is obvious and prepared by the UN, the fact that no one and no society has reacted and acted properly despite this reveals the orphanhood and desolation of East Turkistan. Of course, as Turkish citizens, we want Turkey to protect the East Turkistan cause. Then we expect this from Islamic countries.

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