Isa Yusuf Alptekin or ʿĪsa Yūsuf Alptekin (Uyghur: ئەيسا يۈسۈپ ئالپتېكىن (عيسى يوسف الپتگین or عيسى يوسف الپتكین); Turkish: İsa Yusuf Alptekin; Chinese: 艾萨·玉素甫·阿布甫泰肯; pinyin: Àisà Yùsùfŭ Ābùfŭtàikěn; 1901 – 17 December 1995), known in China as Ai Sha (Chinese: 艾沙伯克; pinyin: àishābókè), was a self proclaimed Uyghur ultra-nationalist and pan-Turkic politician who served the Chinese Nationalist (KMT) regime and opposed both the First East Turkistan Republic and the Second East Turkestan Republic. When East Turkestan (Xinjiang) came under Communist Chinese control, Alptekin went into exile from China in 1949.
Isa Yusuf Alptekin
|Member of the Legislative Yuan from Xinjiang province|
1939 – -
Kashgar, Qing dynasty
He was born at 1901 in Yengisar County, Kashgar, Qing dynasty. He claims to have headed the First East Turkestan Republic in Kashgar from November 12, 1933 to February 6, 1934 as the General Secretary of the National Assembly of the Republic, alongside Prime Minister Sabit Damulla and titular President Hoja-Niyaz. However, no documents from that period mention his name as an official of the First East Turkestan Republic for he was working for the KMT regime as a representative for Xinjiang in Nanjing from 1932 to 1934. Initially the republic was named the "Turkish Islamic Republic of East Turkestan" (TIRET), representing the multi-national staff of its government, which included Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz; its anti-Hui, anti-Han and anti-communist policies, declared in its declaration of independence and basic Islamic principles, declared in its constitution.
In order to gain sympathy for the Chinese War against Japan, the countries of Egypt, Syria and Turkey were visited by Hui Muslim 馬賦良 Ma Fuliang and Uyghur Muslim Isa Yusuf Alptekin in 1939. They contacted Muhammad Amin Bughra when they also went to Afghanistan in 1940, asking him to come to Chongqing, the capital of the Kuomintang regime. The Kuomintang arranged for Bughra's release after the British had arrested Bughra for spying. Kuomintang Muslim publications used Isa and Bughra as editors.
The bombardment of Chinese Muslims by the warplanes of the Japanese was reported in the newspapers of Syria. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon were all toured by the delegation. The Foreign Minister, Prime Minister and President of Turkey met with the Chinese Muslim delegation after they came via Egypt in May 1939. Gandhi and Jinnah met with the Hui Ma Fuliang and Uyghur Isa Alptekin as they denounced Japan.
Ma Fuxliang, Isa Alptekin, Wang Zengshan, Xue Wenbo, and Lin Zhongming all went to Egypt to denounce Japan in front of the Arab and Islamic words. China was supported by Alptekin during the Japanese invasion.
Isa returned to Xinjiang, and he opposed the Second East Turkestan Republic in northern Xinjiang during the Ili Rebellion since it was a Soviet Communist puppet state of Stalin. Instead, he worked for the Chinese Kuomintang regime of Zhang Zhizhong. There were 3 Effendis, (Üch Äpändi) (ئۈچ ئەپەندى) Aisa Alptekin, Memtimin Bughra (Muhammad Amin Bughra), and Masud Sabri. The Second East Turkestan Republic attacked them as Kuomintang "puppets".
Isa lead a delegation of 36 Uyghurs to support murderers in Lanzhou who, in revenge for Sheng Shicai killing their family members, slaughtered a five-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy who were Sheng's niece and nephew and nine other relatives of Sheng Shicai. Isa said that the slaughter was justified.
The marriages between Muslim (Uyghur) women and Han Chinese men infuriated Isa Yusuf Alptekin.
He asked Ma Bufang on whether Chiang Kaishek and the Chinese government would allow an independent Islamic state in southern Xinjiang to counter the Communists and the Soviet-backed Second East Turkestan Republic, but Ma Bufang did not bother with this request. Instead, Ma fled in an American CIA airplane with several million dollars in gold as the Chinese Communist army approached Qinghai. Ma then fled to the Kuomintang-controlled island of Taiwan, then to Egypt.
Alptekin fled the Communist takeover of Xinjiang through the Himalayas, reaching Ladakh in Indian-controlled Kashmir and going into exile in Turkey. In 1954, he and Muhammad Amin Bughra went to Taiwan to try to persuade the Kuomintang government of the Republic of China to drop its claims to Xinjiang. Their demand was rejected and Taiwan affirmed that it claimed Xinjiang as "an integral part of China".
Members of the US Congress met with Alptekin in 1970. Alptekin met with the ultra-nationalist Pan-Turkic leader Alparslan Türkeş. Alptekin spouted anti-Armenian rhetoric while he was in Turkey and claimed that innocent Turkish Muslims were massacred by Armenians.
Isa Yusuf Alptekin was the father of Erkin Alptekin. During Alptekin's exile in Turkey, where he received great support from Pan-Turkic elements in the Government of Turkey, the PRC government denounced him for continuing his "Xinjiang independence activities", and for trying to overthrow the "socialist system". When he died there in 1995, over a million people allegedly attended his funeral, and he was buried in Topkapı Cemetery, next to the mausoleums of two former Turkish leaders, Adnan Menderes and Turgut Özal. In 1995, a park was dedicated to Alptekin in the Blue Mosque section in Istanbul, along with a memorial for martyrs of the late East Turkestan Independence Movement. The high-profile nature of the dedication, including the attendance of the Turkish President, Prime Minister, chairman of parliament and others, enraged China. It denounced Turkey for meddling in its 'internal affairs', and the Turkish state department requested the closing of the park, but domestic constituencies refused.
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