Risk As Homeland Grows Violent, Some Uighurs Seek Haven in Turkey
By Jeremy Page And Emre Peker
The Wall Street Journal - Jan. 30, 2015
In 2002, Mehmet was at university in Xinjiang, the northwest corner of China that is home to his Uighur ethnic group and the source of a wave of deadly violence in the past two years. He and some other Uighurs decided to support Turkey in the soccer World Cup, he said.
Most Uighurs are Muslim, speak a Turkic language and consider themselves part of a broad family of ethnic Turks.
But students from China’s ethnic Han majority were offended, Mehmet said. A fight erupted, leading university authorities to expel six of his friends.
So began a political awakening that led Mehmet to a prison labor camp in Xinjiang and ultimately to Turkey, following a perilous two-month voyage, mostly without a passport, through Central and Southeast Asia.