Uyghur Diaspora in Turkey: Current Conditions and Future Projections
Although the Uyghurs migrated to Turkey earlier than the year 1949; the creation of an Uyghur diaspora began only after the Maoist revolution in 1949. Two vital political struggles played important roles in the formation of the Uyghur diaspora in Turkey. First, the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Republic (Şarki Türkistan İslam Cumhuriyeti) was established in November of 1933, and existed only a short period of time until January, 1934. This first attempt failed due to Soviet expansion in the region, because Soviets understood that an independent Eastern Turkistan would have critical political and social ramifications in Western Turkistan (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan). The Soviet State under Stalin dominated the entire region between the years 1934 and 1943. However, the Uyghur struggle for establishing an independent state continued in the 1940s, and as a result of this political battle combined with Islamic tendencies and nationalism, the second Eastern Turkistan Republic (Şarki Türkistan Cumhuriyeti) was established under the leadership of Ali Han Töre on November 12th 1944. The political and ideological conflict between the Soviets and China led to an unintended consequence for Uyghur Nationalism; the Uyghurs became a political tool for the Soviets to use against China. Subsequently, the leadership of the second Eastern Turkistan Republic (under Ahmetcan Kasımi, Abdurreşit Eminov, Gani Kerimov, Osmancan Nasıri, İshakbey Mononov and Abdülkerim Abbasov) were killed in a plane crash during their visit to Beijing in August, 1949 for planned political negotiations with Chinese political groups. Interestingly, this plane crash was first announced by state officials in Moscow.