HATAY, Turkey – Hundreds of thousands people from China’s western Xinjiang region are ready to enlist in the Turkish military to fight the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria’s northwest Afrin region to “fight for God with an order from Commander Erdogan,” says Seyit Tümtürk, head of the Association for East Turkishtan Culture and Solidarity in Turkey.
The Uighurs are the indigenous people of Xinjiang province of China and are Turkic, therefore, ethnic kin of the Turks despite being thousands of kilometers apart.
The Uighurs call their home region as East Turkestan and view Turkey to be West Turkestan. Uighurs are generally nationalists who want an independent state with more radical elements wanting an Islamic Emirate.
It is for this reason that thousands of Uighurs are already fighting in Syria under the banner of the Turkestan Islamic Party (TIP) who are affiliated with Al-Qaeda and occupy the town of Jisr al-Shugur in Idlib’s countryside in northwest Syria.
Whether the claim that hundreds of thousands are ready to flood into Syria to help the Turkish-led operation against the YPG is true or not, it does demonstrate that the Turkic nationalist tendencies to stamp out Kurdish nationalism runs all across the Turkic cultural and ethnic sphere.
Some speculate that Turkey wants to annex parts of Syria and one way to achieve this goal would be to settle large amounts of Turkic people in parts of the country to justify the stealing of Syrian land.
China is a multiethnic country with 55 recognized ethnic minorities. Collectively they are known as Chinese while the ethnic group most people identify as Chinese are actually the Han.
Hundreds of thousands Uyghurs from #China‘s Xinjiang region are ready to enlist Turkish army and join #Syria‘s Afrin battle to fight for God with an order from Commander #Erdogan, says Seyit Tümtürk, head of Association for East Turkishtan Culture and Solidarity in #Turkey. pic.twitter.com/ElgslclOLS
— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) March 11, 2018
Meanwhile on the Afrin front, an elite unit of the Syrian Army has arrived near its border. Full details can be read here.