What will become of East Turkestan? - HAYRETTIN KARAMAN

What will become of East Turkestan?

East Turkestan President Alihan Töre’s memoir, “Türkistan Kaygısı” (Concern of Turkestan), is a book that we should all draw lessons from.

East Turkestan was an independent republic between the years 1944 and 1946. Alihan Töre Saguni, the state’s founder and first president, was abducted in June 1946 by the USSR as a result of cooperation between Stalin and Mao, after which, in 1949, the Chinese military invaded East Turkestan.

Until his demise in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Alihan Töre Saguni lived in exile for three decades. During this time, he wrote about his memories concerning Central Asia’s history, covering the period between 1917 and 1950. Events after 1938 were penned by his second son Asılhan.

The book discusses firsthand both the Soviet Union and China’s East Turkestan policies and practices, and the fight for independence of Uzbeks, Uighurs, Kazakhs and the people of East Turkestan.

This book, which was secretly written in exile, page by page, with each page hidden in separate places, was prepared for publication by Alihan Töre’s son Kutlukhan Şakirov, and translated to Turkey’s Turkish under the guidance of Oğuz Doğan.

There is also a previous history to the independent republic in East Turkestan.

Professor Alimcan Buğda in his book, “Tarihi Vesikalarda 1933 Doğu Türkistan İslam Cumhuriyeti ve Anayasası” (1933 Islamic Republic of East Turkestan and its Constitution in Historical Documents), recounts the history of the East Turkestan Islamic Republic, which is the best indication of how Muslim Turks, who fulfilled all operations of a normal state - from printing money to distributing passports to its citizens - that was established on Nov. 12, 1933, in Kashgar with the Islamic constitution, can become a state in the modern age against Chinese invaders.

Ma Zhongying’s army, which is a branch of the Muslim Hui military factions, started to expand all the way to Urumqi. In response to this, the Muslim population of East Turkestan started an uprising first in Qumul in 1931, then in Turfan in 1932. The resistance forces led by Hodja Niyaz of Qumul were attacked by the state army and thus, compelled to retreat to the west.

Meanwhile, in Hotan, which is located south of the agricultural basin that was not attacked by the army of Ma Chungying, Mehmet Emin Buğra revolted in 1933 against the invader Chinese. After taking over Hotan by driving away the officials, the opposition forces advanced towards Yarkand and Kashgar, and proclaimed on Nov. 12, 1932, the founding of the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan.

At a time when secularism reached its peak in Turkey, the Kashgar Parliament opened with prayers and recitations from the Quran. On Nov. 14, 1933, parliamentarians of the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan took their oaths by kissing the Quran. The Sunday following the opening of the parliament, soldiers, commanders and administrative officials gathered in front of the bridge at Yarbagh Stone, where 41 cannons were fired. The blue flag that has been used in the region for centuries was recognized as the state’s official flag. The parliament that immediately started operating following the inauguration ceremony ended the publication of newspapers that were previously published by the Chinese, and started newspaper publications under the name Şerkî Türkistan Hayatı (East Turkestan Life), aiming to preserve Islamic and national culture. In addition to this, as a symbol of their independence, the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan started to print money and banned the use of Chinese currency in the region. The country provided all sorts of services to its citizens, ranging from passport distribution to giving national identification cards. The justice aspect of this Islamic state founded in East Turkestan was assigned to whoever was Sheikh al-Islam. Soon, courts were established in the country based on Sharia (Islamic law). The country’s national anthem was written in 1933 by Muhammet Ali Tevpik (Tohtu Hacı), recited in the same year at a state ceremony and accepted by the people of East Turkestan as their national anthem.

The “Xinjiang state government” in Urumqi resorted to the help and intervention of the Soviet Union against the threat of Ma Chungying’s army, which invaded Turfan, and following this, in 1934, two brigades affiliated with the Red Army entered Urumqi. Ma Chungying’s army, which retreated after facing the Red Army, attacked Hotan and massacred the army of the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan. As a result of these events, the republic fell on Feb. 6, 1934.

Russia played a major part in the fall of the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan. This country was afraid that the Muslim peoples, predominantly Muslim Turks, would take the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan as an example and revolt. Hence, it supported China with the fall of this state. Meanwhile, afraid of Indian and Pakistani Muslims, the U.K. also supported China with respect to the fall of the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan. As a matter of fact, it provided China with financial support.

The first three articles of the Islamic Republic of East Turkestan’s constitution are as follows:

Article: The Republic of East Turkestan has been founded upon the principle of Islamic canonical law, and is implemented in accordance with the rulings of the Holy Quran, which is the source of our felicity and happiness, the divine guidance that is free from destruction and change until the Day of Judgment.

Article: The East Turkestan state was founded based on the Republic method, and will apply to the Nankin government and international union societies and nations to observe all kinds of solutions possible in order to achieve independence to ensure the people’s welfare and the state’s order and peace, to protect the people from all troubles and disputes, to put in order the people’s religious, national, and civil economic affairs, and do this to realize such demands of the nation.

Article: The president is at the center of the state administration, and rules the government in accordance with the rules of Islamic canonical law.

Red China, which destroyed these states, is today applying the roughest, most violent, and most effective torture, unprecented in history, to Sinicize the East Turkestan population in terms of race, culture, and religion. Yes, Turkey is going to stand by the oppressed, but how?

At least, with the Islamic union to be established between Turkey, Malasia, Indonesia, and Pakistan, and its increased expansion, this is possible.

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