World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish people on Sunday protested China over the killings of Uighurs one day before the first anniversary of July 5 deaths that nearly 200 were dead.
Several NGOs and some political parties supported the rally in Istanbul's Taksim Square, including the East Turkistan Platform, the Great Union Party (BBP), Human Rights Group or Mazlum-Der.
The protest marks the first year after clashes over the summer between Han Chinese and Muslim Uighur residents in Urumqi left up to 200 people dead, according to Chinese government figures. However, Uighur exile groups said up to 800 people died, many of them Uighurs shot or beaten to death by police.
Gathered in front of the Galatasaray Square, protesters opened banners written, "We condemn the massacre in Urumqi" and shouted anti-China slogans as they marched on Istiklal Avenue.
The group made a statement in Taksim Square denouncing the killings of hundreds of people in Urumqi in protests after a fight between Uighur and Han Chinese workers at a toy factory late June that two Uighur workers had been killed.
Many Uighurs resent Han Chinese rule, complaining they're marginalised economically and politically in their own land, while having to tolerate a rising influx of Han Chinese migrants.
China changed what Uighurs call East Turkistan to Xinjiang in 1955.
East Turkistan, that has 8 million Uighurs, borders Russia, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, has abundant oil reserves and is China's largest natural gas-producing region.
Chairman of the East Turkistan Platform Hamit Ozturk, said, "Although one year passed since the incident, the events has not been clarified, responsible ones have been not brought to justice. On the contrary, secret and open executions, extrajudicial killings and unexplained detentions continue."
"Tears of the mothers have not been relieved. Rather the pain and suffering increased enduringly," he said.
China convicted 21 defendants in last October -- nine were sentenced to death, three were given the death penalty with a two-year reprieve, a sentence usually commuted to life in jail, and the rest were given various prison terms.
Human rights groups accuse Beijing of using claims of "terrorism" as an excuse to crack down on peaceful pro-independence sentiment and expressions of Uighur identity.