Reviews

The diplomatic to-ings and fro-ings of the Eastern Turkistani nationalist movement in exile are yet to attract much scholarly interest.  When they do, this second instalment in the memoirs of İsa Yusuf Alptekin (1901-95) will be an important source.  Reflecting both his long-standing political orientation towards the broader Turkic-speaking world, and a long period of residence in Turkey, Alptekin chose to compose his memoirs in Turkish, rather than his native Uighur.  This large volume spans Alptekin’s activities from 1949, when he fled the Communist annexation of his homeland, until 1980.  A third volume covering the last fifteen years of his life is currently in preparation.  Outside China, İsa Yusuf Alptekin led the life of a diplomat-at-large, and his memoirs are taken up with accounts of his travels, meetings, and participation in various conferences—including the Asia-Africa Conferences of 1960 and 1961, and the World Islamic Congresses of 1964 and 1965.  A significant portion of the book consists of Alptekin’s correspondence with both Uighur and international political figures.  Those interested in relations between the Eastern Turkistani and Tibetan independence struggles will find information here on Alptekin’s correspondence with the Dalai Lama (pp. 783-92).  For the history of the Uighur diaspora more generally, information is provided on the UN-sponsored resettlement of the Uighur refugee community from Afghanistan to Kayseri in Turkey, which took place in 1967 (pp. 535-64).

David J. Brophy, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
CER: I-3.5.D-350