By Engen Tham | HANGZHOU, China
REUTERS - Sep 3, 2016
Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan agreed on Saturday to deepen counter-terror cooperation, as the two set aside previous disagreements over China's treatment of a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Uighurs keen to escape unrest in China's western Xinjiang region have traveled clandestinely via Southeast Asia to Turkey, where many see themselves as sharing religious and cultural ties. Beijing says some Uighurs then end up fighting with militants in Iraq and Syria. But Ankara vowed last year to keep its doors open to Uighur migrants fleeing what rights activists have called religious persecution in China. Beijing denies accusations that it restricts the Uighurs' religious freedoms. Meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Xi told Erdogan he appreciated Turkey stressing that it would not allow its territory to be used for acts that harmed China's security. China "hopes both sides can achieve even more substantive results in counter-terrorism cooperation", China's state-run Xinhua news agency cited Xi as saying.