China's restrictions on Xinjiang's Muslim Uighur community, which amounts to oppression, continue to make waves in Turkey. Major protests are planned for this weekend against the oppression of Muslim residents of East Turkestan, or the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region as it is officially known.
Anti-China sentiment, which quickly found a following on social media, soon got out of hand. A photo posted on Facebook with the caption reading "For East Turkestan," showed a group of ultranationalists outside a Chinese restaurant in Istanbul daubed with blue and white graffiti, the colors of the unrecognized Uighur flag. A caption underneath read, "Today, Grey Wolves who took to the streets in Istanbul for East Turkestan, scattered a Chinese Restaurant and painted the restaurant sky blue."
Turkish media also released photos of Happy China, a Chinese restaurant in Istanbul's Tophane district, whose windows were smashed. Quoting the restaurant's Turkish owner Cihan Yavuz, Doğan News Agency reported that a group of six people shouting "we don't want [a] Chinese restaurant here, get lost!" proceeded to break the windows. Ironically, the restaurant's chef was a Muslim Uighur from Xinjiang.
Japanese actress Ayumi Takano, who has been living in Turkey since the 1990s, was among the victims of mistaken identity in protests against China. Takano faced a barrage of insults on social media by Turks believing the actress, who portrayed Japanese nationals in several Turkish TV shows, was actually Chinese. In response to social media users asking her how many Uighurs she killed, Takano said "I love you even though you mistake me with the Chinese."
Meanwhile, others find the right places to channel their opposition to China's policies. The youth branch of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was planning to stage a protest in the form of an iftar, a dinner marking the end of a day's fast during Ramadan, which is banned for Uighurs in China, according to media reports. Activists called on the public to join them for a humble iftar with bread and water outside the Chinese Consulate in Istanbul yesterday evening.
A group of hackers calling themselves Cyber-Warrior Akıncılar (Ottoman Cyber Warriors) shut down various websites of China's state agencies protesting China's Uighur policies. Hackers left a message on the websites saying China would answer for their oppression of the Uighurs.
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