Turkey voices concern over reports of Ramadan fasting bans on Uighurs in China

Turkey says it has conveyed "deep concerns" to China over reports that minority Chinese Uighur Muslims were being prevented from worship and fasting during the Muslim month of Ramadan.

In a mildly worded statement issued Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that the Turkish public was "saddened" by the reports and that Turkish concerns were relayed to the Chinese ambassador in Ankara.

The Uighurs complain of heavy restrictions by the Communist Party, such as bans of fasting by party members, civil servants, teachers and students during Ramadan, as well as generally enforced bans on children attending mosques, women wearing veils and young men growing beards.

Turkey has close cultural ties to the Uighurs but is also keen to maintain good relations with China.