Ooops! Turks protesting against China attack Koreans 'by mistake' | Inquirer News
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Ooops! Turks protesting against China attack Koreans ‘by mistake’

/ 11:14 AM July 05, 2015
Turkish protesters wave national flags with portraits of Turkey's founder Kemal Ataturk as they take part in an anti-government rally in Ankara, Sunday, June 9, 2013. In a series of increasingly belligerent speeches to cheering supporters Sunday, Turkey's prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a verbal attack on the tens of thousands of anti-government protesters who flooded the streets for a 10th day, accusing them of creating an environment of terror.(AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

Turkish protesters wave national flags with portraits of Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk as they take part in a demonstration in Ankara. In a separate demonstration, Turks protesting China’s treatment of Uighur Muslims attacked a group of Koreans whom they mistook as Chinese. AP FILE

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Turkish nationalists protesting China’s treatment of ethnic Uighur Muslims attacked a group of Korean tourists in the heart of Istanbul’s old city on Saturday, mistaking them for Chinese nationals.

Hundreds of angry protesters marched towards the Topkapi Palace on the banks of the Bosphorus Strait in a show of solidarity with the Turkic Uigurs, who complain of cultural and religious suppression under Chinese rule.

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Shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest), they attacked some Koreans outside the Topkapi Palace, which is visited by thousands of tourists every day.

The tourists were rescued by riot police, who fired tear gas to disperse the attackers, members of the notorious far-right Grey Wolves closely affiliated with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

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Video footage by Dogan news agency showed a distraught Korean tourist telling reporters: “I’m not Chinese, I’m Korean.”

The incident came amid a row between Ankara and Beijing over Turkish media reports of restrictions on Muslim Uighurs worshipping and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Turkey this week summoned the Chinese ambassador to convey its concern over the alleged restrictions. Beijing in turn denied the allegations and demanded that Turkey clarify its statements.

A total of 173 Uighurs arrived in Turkey from Thailand on Tuesday where they were being held after fleeing China. Beijing expressed displeasure with Turkey on Friday for accepting the group.

Over the last week hundreds of Turkish nationalists across the country have demonstrated to protest China’s alleged Ramadan bans.

A popular Chinese restaurant in Istanbul was attacked on Wednesday and had its windows smashed by a group protesters who did not realize it was Turkish-owned and that its chef was an ethnic Uighur.

A predominantly Muslim country, Turkey shares linguistic and religious links with the Uighur community, which has several associations here.

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TAGS: China, Istanbul, korea, tourists attacked, Turkey
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