Turkey demands China close Uighur Muslim "concentration camps"

Turkey's foreign ministry issued a statement Saturday calling on China to end the mass detention of the country's Uighur Muslim ethnic minority, becoming one of the first Muslim-majority nations to publicly condemn what are considered by many to be 21st century concentration camps.

"It is no longer a secret that more than one million Uighur Turks incurring arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing in internment camps and prisons. Uighurs who are not detained in these camps are under heavy pressure. ... The reintroduction of internment camps in the [21st] century and the policy of systematic assimilation against the Uighur Turks carried out by the authorities of China is a great shame for humanity."

The big picture: The statement was released following the death of renowned singer and poet Abdurehim Heyit in one of China's so-called "vocational skills education centres," where he was allegedly tortured. Last month, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced a bill calling on the Trump administration to take action "in light of the continued gross human rights violations" in China's Xinjiang province, including the possible implementation of sanctions.

Go deeper: Uighur detentions in China get global attention