Chinese people in Turkey

There is a small community of Chinese people in Turkey, mostly temporary expatriates. A few hundred Chinese students are enrolled in various Turkish universities.[1] Turkey has a sizeable number of Muslim Uyghur people who hail from the Xinjiang region of China. They have come in large numbers since the early 1950s from the northwestern provinces of China, and as part of their migration to the Middle East, many chose to settle down in urban centres of Turkey. Today, they have effectively associated themselves with the local economy and can be seen practicing in various forms of trade.[2]

The living conditions of the Turkic Uyghurs in China has often been a source of contention between the two countries, with Turkey protesting the treatment the Chinese mete out to Uyghurs. Many Uyghur activists in Turkey are members of secessionist groups such as Home of the Youth, which advocate the independence of a Turkestan republic carved from the current Uyghur homeland of Xinjiang, PRC. These groups have reportedly engaged in various attacks against Chinese nationals and interests based in Turkey. In 2005, China voiced concerns over such organisations, stating explicitly that Turkey should contain any separatist activities which posed a threat to China and that Turkish security agencies had to better protect the life and property of Chinese citizens in Turkey.[3] In 2009, the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned its citizens in Turkey "to remain vigilant and ... avoid crowded or sensitive places" after a series of threats were made on Chinese people and facilities.[4]

Several people of Chinese origin have moved to Turkey in order to further their table tennis careers, and compete internationally for Turkey, including Melek Hu, Cem Zeng and Bora Vang.[5]

Chinese people in Turkey
Regions with significant populations
Chinese · Turkish  · Uyghur


  1. ^ China and the Muslim Peoples of the Middle East, p.3
  2. ^ The Chinese Overseas, Volume 1 p.195
  3. ^ China, Turkey co-op in public security urged
  4. ^ China says another 319 detained over Xinjiang riot: Today's Zaman
  5. ^
East Turkestan Liberation Organization

The East Turkestan Liberation Organization (ETLO; Turkish: Doğu Türkistan Kurtuluş Örgütü; Uyghur: شارقىي تۇركەستان ئازاتلىق تەشكىلاتى, Шәрқий Түркестан Азатлиқ Тешкилати‎, ULY: Şärqiy Türkestan Azatliq Teşkilati; STAT) was a secessionist Uyghur organization that advocated for an independent Uyghur state named East Turkestan in the Western Chinese province known as Xinjiang. The organization was established in Turkey in 1990 or 1996 to fight against the Chinese government in Xinjiang, a territory in which no ethnicity forms a majority, but is inhabited in order of most populous to least by Uyghur, Han Chinese, Kazakh and other Turkic communities. Xinjiang or East Turkestan has a population of 18 million, eight million of which are Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs. As a result of Chinese economic development policies, the demography of the region has altered - ethnic Han Chinese population of the region has risen to 40% or 7.5 million people of the total population, as opposed to 6% in 1949. Kazakhs, the third largest group, constitute 1.2 million. ETLO is a designated terrorist organization by the governments of China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

Minorities in Turkey

Minorities in Turkey form a substantial part of the country's population, with at least an estimated 30% of the populace belonging to an ethnic minority. While the Republic of Turkey, following the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, recognizes Armenians, Greeks and Jews as ethnic minorities, this legal status is not granted to Muslim minorities, such as the Kurds, which constitute the largest minority by a wide margin (13–19%), nor any of the other minorities in the country. The amount of ethnic minorities is suspected to be underestimated by the Turkish government. Ethnic Albanians, Pontic Greeks, Kurds, Arabs, Bosniaks, Circassians and Chechen people are usually considered Turkish under ethnic Turkish law.

Many of the minorities (including the Albanians, Bosnians, Crimean Tatars, and various peoples from the Caucasus, as well as some of the Turks themselves) are descendants of Muslims (muhajirs) who were expelled from the lands lost by the shrinking Ottoman Empire, but they have assimilated into and intermarried with the majority Turkish population and have adopted the Turkish language and way of life, though this does not make them ethnic Turks.

Although many minorities have no official recognition, state-run TRT television and radio broadcasts minority language programs and elementary schools offer minority language classes.

Overseas Chinese

Overseas Chinese (traditional Chinese: 海外華人/海外中國人; simplified Chinese: 海外华人/海外中国人; pinyin: Hǎiwài Huárén/Hǎiwài Zhōngguórén) are people of ethnic Chinese birth or descent who reside outside the territories of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Although a vast majority are Han Chinese, the group represents virtually all ethnic groups in China.

Ethnic groups

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