Xinjiang deaths anger Muslims

ANKARA: Muslims around the world condemned China's crackdown in Xinjiang with thousands taking part in anti-Chinese protests across Turkey on Friday.

At least 156 people have been killed in unrest in Xinjiang over the past week and the Islamic world has sought to bring attention to the plight of Muslim Uighurs in the Chinese region.

In Istanbul, about 5,000 people demonstrated outside the Fatih mosque after Friday prayers, according to NTV television. "No To Ethnic Cleansing" demonstrators chanted, while burning Chinese products.

About 700 people took part in a similar demonstration at the Kocatepe mosque in Ankara. Other protests were held in seven other Turkish towns.

Uighurs are Turkic speakers and Turkey, while recognising Chinese sovereignty in Xinjiang, has been particularly outspoken on the Uighur case.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the violence in Xinjiang was "an atrocity" while Trade and Industry Minister Nihat Ergun has called for a boycott of Chinese goods. This was backed by a Turkish consumer defence group which held a protest Friday outside the Chinese consulate in Istanbul.

About 200 people protested in Australia's capital Canberra on Friday, shouting "death to Chinese terrorists" and "freedom for Uighur people" outside the Australian parliament.

Uighur exiles hurled rocks and cobblestones at China's embassy in The Hague this week during another demonstration. Fourteen people were given jail terms of between a week and 10 days by a Dutch court Thursday for their part in the protests.

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has condemned the "disproportionate" use of force in Xinjiang and called on China to carry out an "honest" investigation into the incidents and find those responsible.

OIC secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, a Turk, on Wednesday condemned the "climate of fear that the Uighur populations are forced to live in".

The concern has spread through Muslim communities.

The head of Indonesia's largest Muslim party, the Prosperous Justice Party, called for UN and Western pressure on China to stop the "slaughter" of Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese.

"China can no longer act as tyrants towards those of their people who are of a different faith," Tifatul Sembiring said in a statement sent to AFP. Indonesia is the world's most populous Islamic nation.

Many governments have urged restraint. Japan on Thursday urged China to protect the human rights of Uighurs in Xinjiang.

Japanese diplomats told Chinese counterparts at a bilateral human rights meeting in Tokyo that Uighurs and China's other minorities should have their human rights guaranteed, a Japanese official told reporters.

The Japanese delegation called on China to ensure freedom of the media covering events in the region, the official said.