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East Turkestan Liberation Organisation (ETLO)

The East Turkestan Liberation Organization (ETLO) was a secessionist Uyghur organisation which fought and protested for an independent Uyghur state. This movement attempted to form a state named East Turkestan in the Western Chinese province, Xinjiang, where the Uyghur population is prominent. The organisation was founder in the early 1990s in Turkey, where it was safe to speak out and fight against the Chinese government.

Contemporarily, the ETLO is designated as a terrorist organization by the governments of China, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. However, the ETLO has undergone several structural changes since 2006 and is now known as the ETIP. The ETLO’s is ideologically affiliated to Uyghur nationalism, Islamism, and Turanism.

In December 2003, the Chinese government issued a list of terrorist organisations affiliated to East Turkestan. The ETLO was named inside of this list amongst the ETIM, WUYC, and the ETIC. These counter-separatist measures by the Chinese government have been criticised worldwide, particularly in recent years, as the general public disapproves of China’s systematic repression against the Uyghur population.

The ETLO’s approach to resistance has involved both peaceful protests as well as alleged acts of fierce retaliation. In 1998, for instance, the ETLO’s members were accused by the Chinese government of orchestrating 15 acts of arson. In 1999, moreover, Turkish police arrested 10 members of the organisation for a series of violent attacks on Chinese individuals in Türkiye.

NOTE: This article will be updated soon.


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