Print Edition - 2017-02-02  |  ASIANEWSNETWORK

Fighting terror

  • Terrorists a common enemy whatever guise they wear

Feb 2, 2017-

News that Turkey has arrested two Chinese nationals of Uygur origin in connection with a mass shooting in a nightclub in Istanbul on New Year’s Eve underscores the necessity and urgency for Beijing and Ankara to work more closely together to combat cross-border terrorism.

Identified as members of an unspecified “terrorist organization”, the two have been charged with “purchasing unlicensed firearms” and “being accomplices” to the murder of 39 people in the attack for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

It would be no surprise if the two Uygurs proved to have links with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement. The UN-listed terrorist group, dedicated to the separation of Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region from China, has long been responsible for a series of deadly terrorist attacks in and outside China.

Last August, a suicide bombing of the Chinese embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, which killed one person and injured three, was ordered by “Uygur terrorist groups active in Syria” and carried out by a member of ETIM in that country, according to Kyrgyzstan’s national security authorities.

There are no official statistics on the number of Chinese Uygurs currently living in Turkey, whose stay there has been cited mainly as a result of linguistic and cultural similarities. Not all of them have crossed the border legally, sometimes even aided by smuggling rings related to terrorist activities.

Terrorism is the common enemy of mankind, and to win the battle against it requires enhanced international cooperation, and in this case between China and Turkey, in such areas as intelligence sharing, evidence collecting, border controls and cutting the terrorists’ access to funding sources.

That is partly why China, together with other countries, initiated the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as a regional mechanism to target terrorism, separatism and extremism.

Sino-Turkish ties, despite being smooth in recent years, have been marred occasionally by anti-China protests staged in Turkey against what some falsely perceive as the “plight of Uygurs”.

In addition, bias, ignorance and lies have combined to continue to lead some people, especially those in the West, to adopt a double standard when addressing terrorism. The United States, for example, has yet to add ETIM to the Department of State’s main list of foreign terrorist organizations.

The latest arrests in Turkey may serve as a wake-up call that terrorism is terrorism whatever guise it comes in.


Published: 02-02-2017 08:53

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