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Belt and Road

China ramps up pressure on Turkey over Uighur policy

Ankara balances economic interests against cultural ties with Muslim minority

Ethnic Uighur protesters hold East Turkestan and Turkish flags at a demonstration against China in Istanbul last month. Turkey’s government is seeking to integrate its strategically important position between Asia and Europe into China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative.   © Reuters

ISTANBUL -- China is pushing back harder against Turkey's disapproval of its treatment of its minority Uighur Muslim population, using economic muscle to stifle criticism.

The tangled relations between the countries come at a critical time for the Turkish government. With its proximity to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Turkey is a crucial link in China's important Belt and Road Initiative.

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