America complicates matters by dismissing the Houthis

The Trump administration has called the Iranian-backed rebels “terrorists.”

“It is the decision of a madman before leaving power ”, Lies a resident of Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, reached by phone Monday, hours after the Trump administration decided to call “Terrorists” the Houthi rebels, allies of Iran, who rule 70% of the 27 million Yemenis. “It’s not a good thing for us, adds Ali (an assumed name), here in Sanaa (held by the insurgents supported by Tehran), people see this as an American maneuver before Trump left, but they think Joe Biden will overturn that decision. ”

Announcing the decision on Sunday, the head of US diplomacy, Mike Pompeo, explained that these sanctions are aimed at holding the Houthis “responsible for cross-border attacks threatening civilian populations, infrastructure and maritime transport ”, allusion to the Houthi missile and drone attacks against the neighboring Saudi kingdom, where the Yemeni president has taken refuge,

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Palestinians are waiting for immunization: Israeli vaccination pioneer under fire

Israel is vaccinating at record speed, Palestinians are still waiting for their doses. The question of who is responsible for inequality is causing controversy.

Discrimination? Israelis are vaccinated, but the majority of Palestinians are not Photo: dpa

BERLIN taz | Vaccination world champion or apartheid state? The success reports about Israel’s Covid vaccination campaign are causing a heated debate around the world. Many admire the country after Benjamin Netanyahu’s government vaccinated more than a tenth of the population in no time at all. Critics, however, object that the Palestinians are excluded from the territories occupied by Israel – more than four million people.

First of all: Israel will remain vaccination champion even if the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are included in the bill. According to government figures, around 1.5 million people in Israel have already received a first dose of vaccine. Depending on the calculation, that is between 10 and 16 percent of the people living in Israel or in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Either way, the country is a long way ahead worldwide.

But it is also a fact that it is almost exclusively Israelis who are allowed to roll up their sleeves. The Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza have to wait for the vaccination to start – probably for weeks. On Tuesday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that the first vaccine doses were not expected until February.

The contrast is strongest in the case of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which are illegal under international law. Israeli citizens who have access to vaccinations and Palestinians with no prospect of a syringe live here in the immediate vicinity.

Serious allegations from Amnesty and HRW

So is a significant part of the population discriminated against? Amnesty International called on Wednesday: “The Israeli government must stop ignoring its international obligations as an occupying power and ensure that the Palestinians living under occupation (…) receive an equal and fair supply of COVID-19 vaccines.”

Even for the lawyer Kenneth Roth, managing director of Human Rights Watch, there is no question “discriminatory treatment”, as he did on Twitter wrote. A number of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations had previously formulated legal arguments in a joint statement:

“Article 56 of the 4th Geneva Convention expressly provides that an occupier has the obligation (…) to take preventive measures necessary to combat the spread of contagious diseases and epidemics”. This duty includes supporting the purchase and distribution of vaccines to the (…) Palestinian people. “

However, this is what the Israeli lawyer and media activist sees Daniel Pomerantz different, the opposite is even the case: from a legal point of view, Israel should not interfere in the Palestinian vaccination strategy without the leadership in Ramallah asking for it, he told the taz. The background: In 1995 the Israelis and Palestinians agreed that the Palestinian Authority (PA) would be responsible for health care.

Annex III, Article 17, of the Oslo II Agreement states:

“The Palestinian side will (…) apply the current vaccination standards for Palestinians (…).”

And further:

“Israel and the Palestinian side exchange information about epidemics and contagious diseases, work together to combat them, and develop methods for sharing medical records and documents.”

Ramallah relies on Russian vaccine

There is certainly cooperation in the health sector, including with Covid-19 tests, but it does not exist when developing a vaccination strategy. Nothing is known about an official request from the PA to the Israeli government to provide vaccine for the occupied territories as well. The Palestinian Ministry of Health did not respond to a taz request.

“Legally,” says Pomerantz, “the PA has the right to make this decision, and Israel must not disregard it.” Instead of working with Israel, the PA has pursued its own strategy over the past few weeks: while Israel is on the expensive ones Vaccines from Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna, the management in Ramallah claims to have primarily – but not exclusively – tried to obtain the Russian vaccine Sputnik V.

The PA applied for support from the Covax initiative launched by the WHO, which aims to promote the equitable distribution of cheap vaccines in poorer countries as well. So far, however, no vaccine has arrived in the Palestinian territories.

With the PA’s own vaccination policy, the situation becomes even more complicated. Because the Sputnik vaccine developed in Russia is not approved in Israel. Without Israeli cooperation, however, he will hardly get into the occupied territories, since Israel controls the borders. “Israel cannot pass on a vaccine that is not approved for its own citizens,” warned the human rights organizations in their joint statement.

Human rights activists: Oslo doesn’t matter

In response to a request from the taz, neither the Israeli organization Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) nor Amnesty International want the PA to apply. While the Oslo Accords transferred health care to the PA, “the extent of Israel’s control over the movement of people and goods, including health workers, patients and medical equipment, has resulted in that responsibility being primarily name”, announced PHR director Ran Goldstein on Wednesday.

Amnesty International argues in a similar way: “The Palestinian system of government is very limited in terms of what it can and cannot control,” Saleh Higazi, deputy Middle East director, told taz. Israel bear with it continue to take responsibility for the right of the Palestinians to health, they both agree.

“By developing a vaccination program that ignores an entire population group under its control, Israel has further exposed the system of institutionalized discrimination,” says Higazi, “a system in which a group is legally granted rights and protection during one others are also denied the same rights and protection by law. “

The legal controversies change little for people living under occupation. As long as the PA does not actively seek coordination and the Israeli government does not feel responsible, they will probably not receive any of the possible vaccines in the next few weeks, while at least some of the settlers in the immediate vicinity should soon be immune to this Coronavirus.


Arab disputes around the Mosques esplanade in Jerusalem

INVESTIGATION – The first visits by prominent Gulf figures to Jerusalem, encouraged by recent agreements between Israel and the Emirates, stumbled over rivalries around the site, called the Temple Mount by Jews. Palestinians and Jordanians recalled that they are the guardians of the Muslim holy place.


The King David, with its view of the Old City ramparts, is one of the most prestigious hotels in Jerusalem. Foreign dignitaries stay there when they visit the Holy City. And it is there that were received, like heads of state, half a dozen influencers from the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, on December 13, in the middle of Hanukkah, the great Jewish holiday of the winter. The small delegation is led by Israeli Amit Deri, founder of Reservists on Duty, an anti-BDS association, the movement to boycott the Jewish state. Carefully organized, the visit highlights the standardization agreements signed on September 15 in Washington between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

«We must face the threat of Islamic radicalization, whether it is used for political or religious purposes. Our main enemy is the Iranian regime, which supports terrorist movements like Hamas and Hezbollah», Asserts Amjad Taha,

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Saudi Arabia and Qatar warm up ties

Quite a symbol. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, was greeted by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in person upon his arrival in al-Ula on Tuesday (January 5) for his first Gulf Cooperation Council summit since 2017.

The two leaders gave each other a warm hug, broadcast live on Saudi television and immediately commented on social networks. « Note that the embrace between Emir Tamim and Mohamed ben Salman is close and that it was initiated by the latter ”writes Bader al-Saif, assistant professor of history at the University of Kuwait.

In the Gulf, a reconciliation dictated by reason

Shortly after, in his opening speech, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia announced the signing of a “Al-Ula declaration, affirming solidarity and stability in the Gulf”. The content has not yet been made public but the motivation is clear: “Unite our efforts to promote our region and face the challenges that surround us, in particular the threats posed by the Iranian regime’s nuclear and ballistic missile program”.

After three and a half years of boycott and hostile media messages, reconciliation is underway between the former enemy brothers. The night before, Kuwait – discreet mediator in this case – revealed that Saudi Arabia had agreed to reopen its airspace and all of its borders to Qatar.

MBS as a pragmatic and responsible leader

The only land border between the two neighbors has remained largely closed since mid-June 2017, when Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain launched a boycott of the small but influential Persian Gulf country. It only opened briefly to allow Qataris to make the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Host of this summit, chaired by his father, old King Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia now wants to appear as a pragmatic and responsible leader. After having already found an outcome to the detention of feminist activist Loujain al-Hathloul – with a suspended sentence, her sentence should allow her to be released from prison within a few weeks – he is determined to put an end to the fracture which divides the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), born forty years ago with the ambition to politically, economically and militarily bring together its members: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait.

Loujain al-Hathloul, symbol of social change under control in Saudi Arabia

The election of Joe Biden to the White House, known to be more demanding of his Gulf allies than his predecessor, undeniably pushes for rapprochement. “The last few years have been a steep learning curve for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia”, advances Bader al-Saif, who now expects a more Saudi policy “Classic” and “Less impulsive”.

United Arab Emirates ‘still have work to do’

More than Bahrain, too small to afford an independent foreign policy and an eternal follower of Riyadh, it is now on the United Arab Emirates that eyes are turning. True initiators of the blockade against Qatar, to which they blame their support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the UAE leaders will undoubtedly have more difficulty in making their rapprochement with Doha and especially in translating it into facts.

“We want to restore the cohesion of the Gulf and make the security, stability and prosperity of our countries and our peoples the top priority”, assured on Twitter the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anwar Gargash, specifying however: “We still have work to do”. Once reconciled, the oil monarchies could focus their efforts on the most difficult job for them: resolving the Yemeni conflict.


Iran announces resumption of 20% uranium enrichment

Iran is stepping up the nuclear tempo. Determined to respond to the withdrawal of the United States from the 2015 nuclear agreement and to impose its timetable for future negotiations with the Biden administration, Tehran announced on Monday January 4 that it was resuming the enrichment process 20% uranium. A level equivalent to what it already had before 2015, far from the limit of 3.76% provided for in the agreement.

“As long as the Iranians stay below 20%, it is always a question of enrichment of uranium for peaceful purposes”, recalls Benjamin Hautecouverture, research associate at the Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS). Beyond that, the objective is clear: to initiate a process of militarization of the nuclear program.

A law recently passed by the Iranian Parliament provides for increasing the stockpile of 20% enriched uranium to 120 kg per year. “With that we do nothing”, reassures the researcher. “We must continue to enrich it. Everything will then depend on what the Iranians are able to do to go from 20 to 80% “, the military threshold from which they can hope to constitute a first nuclear charge.

First step towards obtaining the nuclear bomb

How long before reaching this threshold? The uranium production capacity depends on the quality of the centrifuges and the number of cascades Iran has. Israelis and Americans are betting on a “breakout time” (latency necessary to achieve enough fissile material for a first charge) of two and a half to five months. The less pessimistic speak of six to nine months.

Either way, and as long as Iran doesn’t put a stop to its production, it can hope to get a rudimentary first nuclear charge within the year. The atomic bomb remains for the moment a more distant objective.

There are several military levels for this charge to be operational. “You have to do one or more tests. Then, it is necessary to be able to carry this load: to convey it in a bomb or in a missile head and to deliver it either by air force or by ballistic missile. Here again we have to carry out tests, be sure that the charge can be miniaturized to fit into a missile head, etc. “, describes Benjamin Hautecouverture.

Pressure the future Biden administration

For the United States, the sudden acceleration of Iran’s nuclear program is a “Clear attempt to step up its nuclear blackmail campaign”. Iranians “Create urgency by fueling the obsession of the West for nuclear power”, supports Clément Therme, postdoctoral researcher at CERI at Sciences Po and specialist in Iran.

→ READ. Baghdad under tension a year after the death of Qassem Soleimani

Undermined by heavy economic sanctions since May 2018 and the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement, Tehran intends to make its nuclear program a bargaining instrument for future negotiations. “They hope to get Washington to be able to re-export oil”, continues the specialist.

A watch strategy that was already worn out before the 2015 Vienna Agreement. In 2012, Iran had a stock of 233 kg of uranium enriched to 20%. “Our measures remain reversible if all parties to the agreement comply” again, insisted the head of the Iranian diplomacy Mohammad Javad Zarif, specifying to base himself on article 36 of the agreement “After years of non-compliance with the pact by its participants”.


Agreement between Qatar and its Gulf neighbors: embrace with far-reaching consequences

Saudi Arabia and its allies lift the blockade against Qatar. The Gulf States want to reopen their borders.

Reunited? The Gulf States met on Tuesday for the Gulf Cooperation Council summit Photo: Amr Nabil / ap / dpa

KAIRO taz | It is a gesture that could have consequences for the entire region: the red carpet was rolled out for the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, at the summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the Saudi city of al-Ula . The Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman was waiting at the airfield to give his guest from Qatar a long hug.

After almost four years of Saudi embargoes against Qatar, which was supported by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Egypt, the ice now seems to have broken – just in time for the GCC meeting. The breakthrough was announced the previous evening by the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Ahmad Nasser al-Sabah, who stated that the land borders and airspace between Saudi Arabia and Qatar had reopened. Kuwait brokered the deal. Shortly afterwards, the Emir of Qatar announced that he would accept the invitation to the GCC meeting in Saudi Arabia. There the six members signed an agreement for “solidarity and stability” on Tuesday, which is supposed to officially end the conflict.

It is an approximation that could be very widespread. Egypt sent its foreign minister to the GCC meeting. “Egypt supports efforts that preserve Arab unity and lead to reconciliation in the interests of all sides,” said a statement by the Foreign Ministry in Cairo. The UAE and Bahrain were more cautious. Both are among the hardliners in the Gulf who had opposed a reconciliation with Qatar to the last.

The deal should be about 18 points: In addition to the opening of the border and the resumption of air traffic, the opponents no longer want to attack each other in state media campaigns and do not want to interfere in the internal affairs of a state in the other camp. The rapprochement became possible because after more than three and a half years it became increasingly clear that the embargo against Qatar was a dead end and that the goal of bringing the small emirate to its knees was not achieved. The super-rich state in the Gulf simply sat out the embargo.

Saudi Arabia wants leadership in the Gulf again

Many questions remain unanswered, however: All sides emphasize that this is only the beginning and that further details of the reconciliation would have to be negotiated in a dialogue. The embargo was originally justified by the fact that Qatar had too close ties with Iran and was home to a Turkish military base. The fact that Qatar is one of the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood was a thorn in the side of the Emirates and Egypt in particular, who classify the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, on the other hand, were rather bothered by Qatar’s close relations with Iran, although it was obvious that the embargo would push Qatar even further into the arms of Tehran – another reason why Saudi Arabia in particular wanted an end to the Boycotts urged.

The fact that Saudi Arabia has now prevailed above all against the UAE shows that the kingdom wants to take on a leading role in the Gulf again. In recent years, the Crown Prince of the Emirates, Muhammad bin Zayed, has repeatedly appeared as a mentor and advisor to the Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. He is considered to be the architect of the Qatar boycott.

The embrace of the two crown princes could have consequences that extend far beyond the Gulf states. The rift between the two countries was the basis of many conflicts in the region. In essence, it is about the relations of the Arab Gulf States with Iran, Turkey, but also with organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. The cards could now be reshuffled.

For example in Libya: There Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt have so far supported General Khalifa Haftar in the east of the country. Qatar, on the other hand, is supporting the Libyan government in the capital Tripoli together with Turkey. If not only Saudi Arabia moves closer to Qatar, but also the Emirates and Egypt, it could pave the way for many other reconciliations in the region.


Baghdad under tension a year after the death of Qassem Soleimani

Night is barely falling in Baghdad. The traffic, usually congested, is almost fluid. Sunday January 3 will be the first anniversary of the death of Qassem Soleimani, envoy of the Islamic Republic in Iraq, killed in an American raid near Baghdad airport, along with his right-hand man, Abu Mahdi Al Muhandis.

→ READ. Death of Ghassem Soleimani: the Guardians of the Revolution beheaded

For several days, the Iraqi capital has been on high alert for fear of reprisals from pro-Iranian militias who had promised to avenge the death of their leader. Under dozens of commemorative portraits of the two generals, enhanced security ensures calm. The atmosphere is nervous. The Counter Terrorism Service have multiplied roadblocks and controls. The American Embassy in Baghdad also announced on Facebook that it has “Provided thirty armored cars to the Iraqi army to support it in maintaining national security”.

Rocket attacks on the American embassy

Since Qassem Soleimani’s death, rocket attacks, which began in October 2019, have intensified against the US embassy and the Green Zone in Baghdad. The last, on December 20, damaged the embassy buildings. The Wall Street Journal spoke of “The largest for a decade”. “The attacks now use Grad rockets, which are deadlier than the usual 107mm. We are also seeing more attacks on US logistics convoys in southern Shiite provinces, with improvised explosive devices ”, says an officer of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service.

So analysts are unanimous: there will be “Surely a concurrent message from January 3”, says Sajad Jiyad, researcher for The Century Foundation based in Baghdad. From Tehran, in fact, the head of the Judicial Authority in Iran, Ebrahim Raïssi, himself warned on Friday January 1 that the perpetrators of the assassination of Qassem Soleimani would not be “Nowhere safe”.

“Wait to see what will happen this weekend”

The celebrations, since Tuesday, December 29, have taken place without noise. And in their headquarters in Jadriyah and Karrada, many militias keep a low profile. Contacted by telephone, several leaders and spokespersons refused to be interviewed. A militiaman who prefers to remain anonymous, coward that we have them “Ordered to wait and see what will happen this weekend”.

In contrast to the calm in the streets, the militias are pushing provocation on social networks. In a video on Facebook, militiamen with an unknown identity close to Asaib Ahl Al Haq (AAH) threaten to attack the government. In another, Harakt al-Noujaba threatens to use drones against US interests in Iraq. In an interview with Lebanese Al-Mayadeen television, a member of Harakt al-Noujaba’s political bureau said that the US Embassy in Baghdad “Is not a diplomatic mission but a military barracks”, accusing parties in Washington’s pay of being behind the Dec.20 attack.

Kataib Hezbollah, AAH and the other pro-Iranian militias that make up the PMF (Popular Mobilization Forces) systematically deny their responsibility for the recent attacks, even though government investigations affirm the contrary. Members of the AAH were arrested after December 20.

“New groups, more aggressive and unpredictable”

In recent months, the Prime Minister “Replaced several soldiers and security agents with figures less close to Iran, and limited the presence of Kataib Hezbollah in the Green Zone and the Baghdad airport”, underlines Hamdi Malik, expert of the Shiite militias based in London. But the risk now seems elsewhere. According to Sajad Jiyad, “Groups that traditionally target American interests are now retreating, as new groups appear, more aggressive and unpredictable.”. For good reason, the PMF are facing internal conflicts, and several factions are on the verge of breaking away from them, to continue a fight against the Iraqi government beyond any allegiance to Iran.

For its part, Tehran, “Damaged by sanctions, wants to avoid escalation during the last weeks of Trump administration and be in the best negotiating position with Biden”, assure Hamdi Malik. “On the other hand, the Islamic Republic needs a victory to show that the death of its commander has been avenged. So the attacks will continue, but not in a coordinated fashion ”. “The potential for escalation is there, but neither the Americans nor the Iranians want to trigger it”, echoes Sajad Jiyad. Whether any of the new armed groups will pull the trigger remains to be seen.


CNN reporter: Erdogan makes our calls to the Middle East over the events in the US – Yeni Şafak

  1. CNN reporter: Erdogan makes our calls to the Middle East over the events in the USANew Dawn
  2. Turkey’s explanation about the events in the US, CNN International correspondent was
  3. Turkey’s surprised the warning about the events in the US, CNN International correspondentInternet Credit
  4. CNN reporter comment on “anxious follow-up”: We always said that!Timeturk
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How Bibi built on positive reporting (

When she made her way to the daily editorial conference on Monday morning and met her colleagues in the corridor, she felt “a deep sense of uncertainty, a real distrust of everyone against everyone,” says Dalia (name changed). She has been the editor of a large Israeli media company for many years, has reported on crises and wars, and argued with her colleagues about politics again and again in this highly politicized country: “But one of the cornerstones of our cooperation has been destroyed since the weekend: trust that what we publish in the end is only our spirit’s child, “she says on the phone, and asks not to give her name:” I’m afraid about the future. ”

Similar statements can also be heard from many other colleagues. Because on Sunday, the Israeli public prosecutor’s office published a letter to the defense along with a revised indictment. Netanyahu’s family is no longer mentioned in the indictment. To this end, the letter to the defense lists in detail how Netanyahu is said to have influenced the reporting of the online portal Walla either himself or through third parties since he took office. “Walla” is a news service from the telecommunications provider Bezek that customers see by default when they open their browsers on their mobile phones or want to check their e-mails. The portal’s power to shape the political will of the population is enormous.

And prosecutors have now listed 315 cases in which positive reports about Netanyahu or his family moved up on the homepage, were seen there longer than usual, or where negative reports were moved down or removed entirely. Several headings have also been “defused”. In addition, negative reports about the premier’s rivals had been requested. Netanyahu himself is said to have had direct influence in 150 of these cases. In return, he is said to have pushed through laws that should have been worth several hundred million US dollars for the owner Schaul Elovitch. Netanyahu and Elovitch vehemently deny the allegations.

But they are not the only ones against the head of government, who in March has to face the fourth election within just two years. A corruption trial began in the Jerusalem District Court on May 24, 2020; the next oral hearing is to be held in February. The allegations are extensive; In summary, Netanyahu, who is said to have several million euros himself, is said to have enforced equally valuable laws, including above all tax breaks, against expensive gifts. The gifts are said to have included cigars and champagne valued at 195,000 US dollars and jewelry valued at 3,100 US dollars – and positive coverage, not just from »Walla«.

In the case of the rival portal »«, an offer from the largest daily newspaper »Jedioth Achanoroth«, Netanyahu is said to have tried to achieve positive reporting in three meetings with the publisher Arnon Moses. In return, the prime minister is said to have offered to restrict the circulation of the chronically Netanyahu-friendly free newspaper Israel HaJom by law. The paper belongs to the empire of Netanyahu and Trump friend Sheldon Adelson and made life difficult for the sales newspapers for years. Adelson is not one of the suspects.

The proceedings against Netanyahu are dragging on, because of the corona crisis, but also because of the complex charges and the constant new elections within the past two years. In the meantime, the search for the perpetrators in their own ranks has begun in the editorial offices. In the case of, the matter was quickly over: the editorial staff of the newspaper and portal refused to follow the publisher’s instructions; one of the conversations with Netanyahu was recorded and published. But questions also arise in other media: Which editorial offices did Netanyahu’s long arm reach? And who obeyed the announcements from above?


Extradition of Uyghur refugees to China is debated in Turkey

► Where is the extradition treaty between Turkey and China?

The bilateral agreement signed in 2017 between Turkish and Chinese justice ministers to facilitate the extradition to China of Uyghur refugees has just taken a new step. “The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has ratified” the text, the Chinese parliament said in a short statement released on Dec. 26.

→ EDITORIAL. Erdogan facing the Uyghurs

This treaty is part of the repressive policy initiated by China in the region of Xinjiang (north-west) after numerous deadly attacks committed against civilians and the departures of Uighurs for Syria or Iraq alongside Daesh. Far from being satisfied with targeting members of the separatist and Islamist movement, the authorities are said to have interned at least a million people in “camps”, modestly described as “Vocational training centers”.

It is in this context that Beijing obtained from Ankara the return of certain Uyghurs refugees in Turkey and suspected of “Terrorism”. However, the treaty provides for a few grounds for refusal: if Turkey considers that the extradition request is linked to a “Political crime”; whether the person concerned has citizenship (but Uyghurs who have obtained Turkish citizenship are rare) or enjoys the right of asylum. To become applicable, the text must now be ratified by the Turkish Parliament.

► Why did Turkey sign it?

In 2009, during the violent inter-ethnic riots that had set Xinjiang ablaze, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then Prime Minister, did not mince his words. “Frankly speaking, the incidents in China constitute a kind of genocide”, he had launched. Due to linguistic, cultural and religious ties, Turkey has long championed the Uyghur cause on the international stage. It is home to around 50,000 of them, the largest community outside of Central Asia.

But this support has gradually faded. In the summer of 2019, received with great fanfare in Beijing, President Erdogan admitted to the official China New Agency that people are ” happy “ in Xinjiang. Since then, arrests of Uyghurs have already started in Turkey, and several activists have been extradited to China via Tajikistan.

This agreement reflects, in the eyes of researcher Annick Cizel, the positioning “Paradoxical of Turkey, torn between the defense of the Muslim world in the Mediterranean and that of its financial, commercial and health interests which pass through China”. “The Turkish national interest as defined by Recep Tayyip Erdogan commands the sacrifice of the Uyghurs to keep Turkish power afloat”, analyzes the foreign policy specialist.

► Who is against it in Turkey?

The Uyghur World Congress, an exile organization based in Germany, is mobilizing to prevent ratification by the Turkish Parliament. “Even though Turkey has taken an increasingly authoritarian path, popular pressure is still playing on the government”, assures Dilnur Reyhan, teacher at Inalco and spokesperson for Uyghurs in France.

→ INVESTIGATION. From Adidas to Zara, big brands in the Uyghur trap

“In the past, support came mainly from the traditional and nationalist right, and therefore from the AKP. Since information filtered out about the internment camps, the left and the far left have taken up the torch, analyzes the researcher. China uses “debt diplomacy”. But we hope that the opposition will make itself heard. “