Erdogan planning to send Uyghur fighters to Libya
A British report has recently revealed that the Turkistan Islamic Party, which is made up of fighters of the Chinese Uyghur minority, would send its fighters to fight alongside the militias of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
The Guardian newspaper added in a report it ran on January 26 that about 2,000 Syrian militants would arrive in Libya soon, from Turkey to prop up the militias of the GNA. These militants, it said, include Uyghur fighters.
The newspaper quoted sources from the three states as saying that 300 Turkey-backed militants had entered Turkey on December 24.
They were followed by 350 more militants five days later, the newspaper said. It added that the same militants were deployed in Libya.
It noted that other militants are receiving training inside camps in southern Turkey. The newspaper added that fighters from Sham Legion, which is also backed by Turkey, consider travelling to Libya.
The commander of the so-called Free Syrian Army, Ahmed al-Shahabi, promised the Turkistan residents of the northern Libyan city of Misrata to come to their support.
He added in an interview with a Turkish TV channel that his troops would head to Libya after it defeats the Syrian army in Syria.
Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, claimed previously that around a million Turkish citizens live in Misrata.
Al-Shahabi thanked Erdogan for offering support to the Syrian people at the military, humanitarian and political levels.
"The Turkish president does not view us as Syrians, but as brothers," al-Shahabi said. "This is why we are ready to sacrifice ourselves for the Ottoman caliphate."
The Turkistan Islamic Party is a terrorist organization, most of whose members come from the autonomous Chinese Xinjiang region. The region covers an area almost equal to the size of Saudi Arabia. It is inhabited by 21 million people. Most of the region's inhabitants consider themselves part of the Turkish ethnicity.
The party was founded in 1993 by Hassan Makhdoum Maasoum who was born in 1964 in western China.
In 2009, Maasoum was included in an American terror list because of his links with al-Qaeda. He was killed in Pakistan in 2003. Soon, however, the party started expanding its activities outside China and also fighting the Chinese army and then the Pakistani army.