Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang were discussed by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, left, and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, right, according to the Turkish side ©Getty Images

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has offered his support for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, although did express "our views, expectations and sensitivities" on Uyghurs.

Chinese state-run newspaper The Global Times reported that Çavuşoğlu emphasised Turkey's opposition to the politicisation of sport during the meeting in Wuxi in China, and expressed his confidence that the Games in Beijing would be held in a similar vein to the Summer Olympics of 2008.

The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1971, and Wang insisted that they should continue to strengthen their collaboration.

"Turkey is the first country to sign the Belt and Road Initiative cooperation deal with China, which showed the importance Turkey attaches to practical cooperation between the two countries," he said, as quoted by The Global Times.

However, the situation in the Xinjiang and China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims was discussed, the Turkish side insists.

Activists say China's treatment of Uyghurs amounts to a genocide and makes China an unfit Winter Olympic host.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu cited the 2008 Summer Olympics in expressing his confidence about Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu cited the 2008 Summer Olympics in expressing his confidence about Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

In Xinjiang, China has faced accusations of using forced Uyghur labour, operating a mass surveillance programme, detaining more than one million people in internment camps, carrying out forced sterilisations and intentionally destroying Uyghur heritage in the Xinjiang region.

Beijing has consistently denied the charges laid against it, and claims the camps are training centres designed to stamp out Islamist extremism and separatism.

Human rights concerns in Tibet and Hong Kong, as well as the welfare of tennis player Peng Shuai, have also come under scrutiny in the build-up to Beijing 2022 and several Western nations including the United States, United Kingdom and Australia have committed to a diplomatic boycott of the Games.

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has insisted that the Olympics must be "beyond all political disputes", while China's Foreign Ministry has criticised actions which it claims "politicise sport".

Turkey's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said bilateral relations and regional issues were discussed during Çavuşoğlu's meeting with Wang, but "on the other hand, our views, expectations and sensitivities regarding the issues on our agenda, especially the Uyghur Turks, were also conveyed".

The Daily Sabah, which supports the Turkish Government led by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reported that Ankara has urged China to respect universal human rights.

Turkey has yet to win a medal at the Winter Olympics ©Getty Images
Turkey has yet to win a medal at the Winter Olympics ©Getty Images

According to The Global Times, Wang told Çavuşoğlu that both countries should avoid interference in another's internal affairs.

"Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu said that the Turkish side is committed to the one-China principle and will not allow violent terrorist acts targeting China or anti-China activities that harm China’s territorial integrity on Turkish soil," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.

There is also criticism over Erdoğan's regime's record on human rights.

Erdoğan has led the country since 2003, but there has been a crackdown since a failed military coup in 2016, with the President assuming sweeping new powers via referendum and fresh elections since then.

Critics have accused the President of pursuing an increasingly authoritarian approach, repressing free speech and violating the rights of the nation's Kurdish minority.

Turkey is yet to win a medal at the Winter Olympics, although it has sent athletes to every edition since Sarajevo 1984.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are scheduled for February 4 to 20, followed by the Winter Paralympics from March 4 to 13.