173 Uighur refugees held in camps in Thailand arrive in Turkey

A Turkey-based Uighur group says 173 women and children from the minority Chinese Muslim community have arrived from Thailand where they were being held after fleeing China.

The East Turkestan Culture and Solidarity Association says that the group arrived in Istanbul on June 30 and have been taken to Kayseri, in central Turkey, where the association is based.

Turkey has linguistic and ethnic ties to the Uighurs and had been trying to convince Thailand and China to allow the group to settle in Turkey. They had faced deportation to China.

Seyit Tumturk, deputy head of the World Uighur Congress, said Wednesday that the 173 were among a group of 250 Uighurs held in Thai camps and hoped the remaining refugees would also be allowed to leave Thailand.