Forty-five Syrian refugees who were detained after sharing videos on social media showing them eating bananas in an effort to condemn racism and discrimination in Turkey will be deported, Turkish Minute reported on Friday, citing a statement by the country’s Migration Management Directorate General.
Referring to the 45 refugees, the directorate on Friday stated that they had been sent to deportation centers to be repatriated and were still there under administrative detention.
The videos were posted in protest following a street interview in which a Turk says Syrians in Turkey “buy kilos of bananas” while he can’t even afford to eat them.
In the interview, recently conducted in İstanbul’s Esenler district, several Turks are seen lashing out at a young Syrian student who says they “wouldn’t have had to come to Turkey if there was no war in Syria.” A Turkish man is heard saying: “Go back to Syria. You’re just tenants, we’re the landlords here. [But] you live in better conditions than I do. I can’t eat bananas while you buy kilos of them at farmers markets.”
To protest the Turks’ racist and discriminatory attitude towards the Syrian student during the interview, some Syrian refugees posted videos on social media, mainly on TikTok, showing them eating bananas.
Anti-immigrant sentiment is nearing the boiling point, fueled by Turkey’s economic woes. With unemployment high and the price of food and housing skyrocketing, many Turks have turned their frustration toward the country’s roughly 5 million foreign residents, particularly the 3.7 million who fled the civil war in Syria.
Hate crimes against refugees and migrants, who are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic troubles, also 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.