Future Party slams Education Ministry over 'China in My Dreams' painting competition

The leader of the opposition Future Party and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has slammed the Education Ministry for organizing a painting competition themed “China in My Dreams.” Davutoğlu suggested that students should instead dream about “their brothers in their fatherland being freed from the oppression,” referring to the Uighurs minority in northwest China’s Xinjiang region.

Demonstrators in masks painted with the colors of the East Turkestan flag hold placards reading 'Speaking Turkish, banned' and 'fasting in Ramadan, banned' during a protest in Istanbul.

Duvar English

Future Party leader and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has criticized the Education Ministry for organizing a painting competition themed “China in My Dreams.”

“The Education Ministry is organizing a painting competition titled 'China in My Dreams' for our kids. Our dream on the other hand is East Turkestan. Dear kids, you paint the dream of your brothers in your fatherland being freed from the oppression and send that to this competition,” Davutoğlu wrote on his Twitter account.

The Education Ministry defended its painting competition, saying it aims to “help students get to know China better.”

Uighur Muslims share ethnic roots with the Turks, and their region, Xinjiang, is often referred to East Turkestan in Turkey.

China has come under scrutiny over its treatment of its Uighurs minority. The country has denied mistreating Uighurs.

U.N. experts estimate at least a million Uighurs and other Muslims are held in detention centers in Xinjiang. The United States said in January China had committed “genocide and crimes against humanity” by repressing Uighurs.

Many of the 40,000 Uighurs in Turkey have criticized the government’s approach to China after it approved an extradition treaty in December, which they fear may lead to them being sent back to China to face vague charges which they deny.