Erkin Alptekin

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Erkin Alptekin
ئەركىن ئالپتەكىن
1st President of the
World Uyghur Congress
In office
18 April 2004 – 27 November 2006
Preceded byCongress established
Succeeded byRebiya Kadeer
Personal details
Born (1939-07-04) 4 July 1939 (age 83)
Yengisar County, Kashgar Prefecture, Xinjiang, Republic of China
Residence(s)Munich, Germany
OccupationPolitical activist
Known forFounder and 1st President of the WUC
One of the founders and 3rd President of UNPO
WebsiteWorld Uyghur Congress website

Erkin Alptekin (Uighur: ئەركىن ئالپتەكىن; Chinese: 艾尔肯·阿布甫泰肯; born 4 July 1939) is a Uyghur activist from Germany. Alptekin is the son of Isa Alptekin, who claimed that during 1933–1934, he was the General Secretary of the First East Turkestan Republic in Western China when in reality he was a representative from Xinjiang in the KMT government.[1][2] He has played very important roles for the foundation of some international organizations, the best known of which are the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and the World Uyghur Congress.


After the Peaceful Liberation of Xinjiang in 1949 and succession by the new People's Republic of China, Alptekin's family fled to Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. There he attended Catholic school and then Convent College,[3] completing his studies in the Institute of Journalism in Istanbul.[4] Alptekin is based in Germany.[5]


In 1971, due to his father's connections, he got a job at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) in Munich. He worked as a "Senior Policy Advisor" and directed the Uyghur Division until 1979, when Uyghur-language broadcasts were discontinued for a lack of an audience under RFE/RL jurisdiction.[6] During his time at the Division, he complained about lack of media coverage of the Uyghurs, lamenting "the international community only reacts when conflict breaks out."[3] Concurrently in the 1970s and 1980s, the CIA looked to connect to Uyghur separatists and found Alptekin a suitable match because of his leadership in various Uyghur organizations and his tenure at RFE. He became an adviser to the CIA[7] and retired his RFE/RL post in 1995 as it moved to Prague in the Czech Republic.[4]

Erkin Alptekin has founded various organizations for separatist movements, mostly related to the Uyghur nationalist cause. In 1985 he participated in the founding of the "Allied Committee of the Peoples of East Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia", which held its first conference in 1998 in New York. He founded the East Turkestan Union in Europe in Europe.[6] In 1991, he also became one of the founders of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), which has its headquarters in The Hague.[1] During a conference held in Munich in April 2004 Alptekin was elected the President of the World Uyghur Congress.[8]

Erkin Alptekin has been lobbying, not only for Uyghur nationalism but also for other separatist movements, peoples and minorities, including the indigenous peoples in Western countries since 1971.

Erkin Alptekin is also on the advisory board of several international organizations situated in Asia, Europe and in the United States. For the last 35 years Alptekin has attended more than 6,000 international conferences worldwide on various topics; published numerous articles, research papers and brochures; and has been the focus of several Western press media.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b "Strategies of Attrition (IV)". 22 October 2007. Archived from the original on 5 February 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Setting the Sights on East Turkestan (II)". 26 November 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b Lawrence, Susan V. "Why China Fears This Uyghur Exile". Transnational Radical Party. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Introducing the World Uyghur Congress". World Uyghur Congress. Archived from the original on 25 August 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  5. ^ "Troops flood into China region after riots". NBC News. Associated Press. 8 July 2009.
  6. ^ a b Shichor, Yitzhak (2003). "Virtual Transnationalism: Uygur Communities in Europe and the Quest for Eastern Turkestan Independence". In Stefano Allievi; Jørgen Nielsen (eds.). Muslim Networks and Transnational Communities in and Across Europe. Leiden: Brill. p. 295. ISBN 9004128581. Retrieved 2 November 2008.
  7. ^ Raman, B. (24 July 2002). "US & Terrorism in Xinjiang". South Asia Analysis Group. Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2010.
  8. ^ Ho, Stephanie (30 June 2004). "Erkin Alptekin, recently elected as President of the World Uyghur Congress, visits the United States". Voice of America. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2010.