East Turkestan Liberation Organization

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
East Turkestan Liberation Organization
شارقىي تۇركەستان ئازاتلىق تەشكىلاتى
Leader(s) Mehmet Emin Hazret
Dates of operation 2000–2003
Motives Independence of East Turkestan from China
Active region(s) Xinjiang
Status China Designated as terrorist organisation (15 December 2003)
Kazakhstan Designated as terrorist organisation (November 2006)

The East Turkestan Liberation Organization (ETLO; Turkish: Doğu Türkistan Kurtuluş Örgütü; Uyghur: شارقىي تۇركەستان ئازاتلىق تەشكىلاتى, Шәрқий Түркестан Азатлиқ Тешкилати‎, ULY: Sharqiy Turkestan Azatliq Teshkilati; SHAT) was a secessionist Uyghur organization that advocated for an independent Uyghur state named East Turkestan in the Western Chinese province known as Xinjiang.[1] The organization was established in Turkey in 1990 or 1996 to fight against the Chinese government in Xinjiang, a territory in which no ethnicity forms a majority, but is inhabited in order of most populous to least by Uyghur, Han Chinese, Kazakh and other Turkic communities.[2] Xinjiang or East Turkestan has a population of 18 million, eight million of which are Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs. As a result of Chinese economic development policies, the demography of the region has altered - ethnic Han Chinese population of the region has risen to 40% or 7.5 million people of the total population, as opposed to 6% in 1949. Kazakhs, the third largest group, constitute 1.2 million. ETLO is a designated terrorist organization by the governments of China and Kazakhstan.[3][4][5]


Amnesty International reports that "The Chinese government’s use of the term "separatism" refers to a broad range of activities, many of which amount to no more than peaceful opposition or dissent. Over the last three years, tens of thousands of people are reported to have been detained for investigation in the region and hundreds, possibly thousands, have been charged or sentenced under the Criminal Law; many Uighurs are believed to have been sentenced to death and executed for alleged "separatist" or "terrorist" offences, although the exact number is impossible to determine."[2]

In 1998, ETLO members were accused by the government of China of organizing 15 arson incidents in Ürümqi, and in 1999, Istanbul police arrested 10 ETLO members for a series of attacks on Chinese people in Turkey.[6]

Since 9/11, 2001, China has effectively used the international climate to build an international coalition against Uyghur separatist movements.[7] On 15 December 2003, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security issued a list of "East Turkestan terrorists" and "terrorist organizations" which named four organizations and several individuals: the East Turkestan Liberation Organization (ETLO), the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the World Uyghur Youth Congress (WUYC) and the East Turkestan Information Centre (ETIC).[8] Many analysts[who?] claim that Russian and Chinese authorities exaggerate the potency of the Uyghur groups to justify their repressive "counter-terror" policies.[9]

In a 2002 Chinese documentary, "On the Spot Report: The Crimes of Eastern Turkestan Terrorist Power," Wang Mingshan, Deputy Director-General of the Yili-Kazak Autonomous Prefecture Public Security Department, claimed that in 1998 Mehmet Emin Hazret, the leader of the ETLO, ordered Hamid Mehmetjan, an Egyptian ETLO member, to go to China to recruit members, receive a delivery of weapons on 6 April, and to compile a list of targets for assassination and bombings in Xinjiang. Mingshan also claimed that police and ETLO members exchanged gunfire on 24 April 1998, and that members later stated during interrogation that they were trained at camps in Afghanistan.[10]

On 15 December 2003, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security issued a list of "East Turkestan terrorists" and "terrorist organizations" which named four organizations and several individuals: the East Turkestan Liberation Organization (ETLO), the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), the World Uyghur Youth Congress (WUYC) and the East Turkestan Information Centre (ETIC).[8] At the same time, the official Chinese press initiated a campaign detailing "terrorist" incidents allegedly carried out by the individuals listed. Amnesty International regarded these allegations "uncorroborated and no credible evidence was provided to substantiate these claims. Indeed, much of the "evidence" appeared to have been obtained from other individuals under interrogation. In view of the ongoing and widespread use of torture and ill-treatment by police in China, particularly to extract "confessions" from detained suspects, Amnesty International believes any "evidence" obtained in this way must be treated with deep suspicion." [2] In January, Hazret, who avoids public appearances, called into Radio Free Asia to respond that ETLO wishes to work by peaceful means, but spoke of the "inevitability" of a military wing targeting the Chinese government.[6] He also stated that the principal goal of the ETLO was to pursue independence through peaceful means,[11][12] and denied any participation in terrorist activities or connections to the East Turkestan Islamic Movement.[11] Amnesty International has criticized the Chinese government response to ETLO, which it says include human rights violations, such as torture and ill-treatment by police.[2]

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation[edit]

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) members; China,[13] Kazakhstan,[14] and Kyrgyzstan,[15] designated ETLO as a terrorist organization. According to Amnesty International, "the listing of ETIM and ETLO was in keeping with previous allegations made by China against these groups. Both were highlighted in China’s official report on "East Turkestan terrorists" of January 2002 and China’s allegations against ETIM (East Turkestan Islamic Movement) were bolstered in August 2002 when the US, closely followed by the UN formally classified ETIM as a "terrorist organization" after several requests from China.[2] The American government refused China's request to recognize the East Turkestan Liberation Organization (ETLO) as a terrorist organization in December 2003.[16]

The organization operates primarily in Xinjiang, China, but operates throughout Central Asia and in Pakistan. The ETLO is allied with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and the Taliban.[17] Kazakhstan banned the ETLO, designating it a terrorist organization, on 17 November 2006. The United States State Department says the ETLO has engaged "small politically-motivated bombings and armed attacks".[14][17] The Global Defence Review allege that it is "widely acknowledged" that Al-Qaeda gives funding and training to the ETLO and the East Turkestan Islamic Movement,[17] although there are doubts about the East Turkestan Islamic Movement's existence.[18][18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kyrgyz authorities arrest fugitive Uighur separatist,[dead link] International Herald Tribune, February 15, 2007
  2. ^ a b c d e http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engasa170212004 People’s Republic of China Uighurs fleeing persecution as China wages its "war on terror," Amnesty International
  3. ^ "CCTV International". www.cctv.com. 
  4. ^ "Terror list with links to al-Qaeda unveiled". www.chinadaily.com.cn. 
  5. ^ East Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO) Globalsecurity.org
  6. ^ a b "Separatist Leader Vows to Target Chinese Government". Radio Free Asia. 2003-01-29. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  7. ^ http://hrichina.org/public/contents/8784 Nicolas Becquelin, Criminalizing Ethnicity: Political Repression in Xinjiang, China Rights Forum, 2004, No:1
  8. ^ a b http://hrw.org/reports/2005/china0405/4.htm#_Toc100128615 Devastating Blows Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, Human Right Watch
  9. ^ Pike, John. "East Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO)". www.globalsecurity.org. 
  10. ^ Shichor, Yitzhak (May 2006). "Fact and Fiction: A Chinese Documentary on Eastern Turkestan Terrorism" (PDF). China and Eurasia Forum Quarterly. Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Program. 4 (2). Retrieved September 9, 2011. 
  11. ^ a b Gladney, Dru C. (2006). Derek S. Reveron and Jefferey Stevenson Murer, ed. "Xiniang". Flashpoints in the War on Terrorism. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-95491-6. 
  12. ^ Harmsen, Peter (2003-01-30). "As repression mounts in Xinjiang, separatists mull military groups". Agence France Presse. 
  13. ^ China releases 'terror' blacklist of Uyghurs RadioFreeAsia
  14. ^ a b Uyghur group added to Kazakh terror list RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty
  15. ^ Islamic groups banned in Kyrgyzstan Central Asia Caucasus Institute
  16. ^ https://www.hrw.org/reports/2005/china0405/4.htm Devastating Blows Religious Repression of Uighurs in Xinjiang, Human Right Watch
  17. ^ a b c Eastern Turkistan Liberation Organization MIPT Terror Knowledge Base
  18. ^ a b [1][dead link]
  19. ^ Goldstein, Ritt (24 April 2009). "Freed from Guantánamo, a Uighur clings to asylum dreams in Sweden" – via Christian Science Monitor.