China cautions nationals in Turkey

BEIJING: China's foreign ministry has urged its nationals in Turkey to take extra care, citing unspecified threats to their security.

"Recently some people and groups have received threats against their security in Turkey," the foreign ministry said in a statement posted on its website over the weekend.

"The foreign ministry's department of consular affairs urges Chinese nationals and groups in Turkey to strengthen security precautions and pay attention to how safe the situation is."

China's relations with Turkey have been strained after unrest on July 5 in the northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang involving Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighurs that left at least 197 people dead.

In reaction to the unrest, Turkey's Trade Minister Nihat Ergun last month called on consumers not to buy goods from China.

Also in July, around 10,000 people attended a gathering in Istanbul organised by the Islamic Saadet party, angered by what they saw as Chinese mistreatment of the Uighurs.

The foreign ministry statement urged Chinese in Turkey to pay constant attention to the conditions around them and try not to go out too much.

"They should avoid crowds and sensitive areas to the greatest extent possible, and take necessary emergency precautions whether they stay at home or go out," it said.

The statement did not describe the threats that have allegedly been levelled against Chinese in Turkey. A foreign ministry official contacted by AFP Monday declined immediate comment.

China issued a security alert in mid-July to its citizens in Algeria after Al-Qaeda reportedly vowed to avenge the deaths of Muslims killed during the ethnic unrest.