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East Turkestan Islamic Movement

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See also: Uighur
See also: Uighur detainees in Guantanamo

The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a militant group that calls for secession from China and was designated as a terrorist group by the US government in 2002. They are from a region that China calls the Xinjiang-Uygur Autonomous Region, usually called East Turkestan. The region shares borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. The group was listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. following the 9-11 attack, but most of the concern about it is Chinese; human rights groups have suggested it is merely an excuse for crackdown on dissent. In July 2008 the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Chinese cities, including bus explosions in Shanghai and Kunming. TIP may be another name for ETIM.[1]

The area commonly referred to as Turkestan is sometimes split into Western Turkestan and Eastern Turkestan. Western Turkestan was controlled by the Russian empire and then by the USSR, and so the area is also referred to as Russian Turkestan. The USSR treated this area as an autonomous region. [2] Following the dissolution of the USSR, the region was split among five new republics, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Eastern Turkestan has long been a part of China and is sometimes referred to as Chinese Turkestan.

It has been alleged that al-Qaeda provided financial assistance and training to ETIM. ETIM is not the only terrorist group committed to an Islamic state in the Turkestan area; the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is another significant terrorist operation pushing for a theoretical Islamic Turkestan state.

22 Uighurs were detained at Guantanamo, captured in Afghanistan and suspected of participation in ETIM. [3]

References

  1. Holly Fletcher and Jayshree Bajoria (July 31, 2008), "The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)", Council on Foreign Relations backgrounder
  2. Terrorist Organization Profile: Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
  3. Steve Czajkowski, "DOJ defends detention of Uighur at Guantanamo," Jurist" April 4, 2008