Attacks on Syrian refugees, their properties intensify in Ankara on second day

A victim of brutal attacks on Syrian refugees in Ankara (source: Twitter)

Attacks on Syrian refugees, their houses, workplaces and cars by locals chanting anti-Syrian and fascist slogans continued for a second day in Ankara’s Altındağ district, according to Turkish media reports.

Images on social media showed dozens of angry people throwing rocks at homes, smashing shops and cars and burning merchandise looted from shops believed to belong to Syrian refugees in Ankara on Wednesday night.

The unrest began on Tuesday night following reports that a Syrian refugee stabbed a Turkish man to death. Large numbers of people then headed to a neighborhood where Syrians reside.

Turkish police have detained 76 people in connection with attacks, including social media users who shared “provocative” posts, according to a statement from the Ankara Police Department.

The statement said 38 of the detainees had criminal records for theft, drugs, assault and looting.

The statement also warned citizens about provocative news reports and posts on social media and called on them to help the police.

The Anadolu news agency said two “foreign nationals” had been arrested and charged with homicide in connection the deadly fight.

Hate crimes against refugees and migrants, who are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic troubles, have been escalating in the country in recent years.

Turkish media including pro-government and opposition outlets fuel and exploit the flames of hatred against people who fled their countries and sought refuge in Turkey.

Anti-migrant sentiment has also been expressed by opposition politicians. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has promised to send Syrians back home if his party comes to power.

Tanju Özcan, the mayor of Bolu province from the CHP, recently said an additional water and solid waste tax 10 times the normal tax would be imposed on refugees living in Bolu.

“We cut their benefits and stopped giving them business licenses to open shops, but they didn’t leave,” he said during a meeting at city hall. “The city council will meet next week, and we will discuss raising their taxes.”

According to  UNHCR, Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees worldwide. The country is currently home to some 3.6 million registered Syrian refugees along with close to 320,000 persons of concern from other nationalities.

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