Assailants batter Syrian paper collector, set his motorcycle on fire in Antalya

Three assailants have battered a Syrian paper collector and set his motorcycle on fire in a racist attack in the southern province of Antalya. The refugee was hospitalized after receiving blows to his head and was reported to be in a critical situation.

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Duvar English

Three assailants have battered a Syrian paper collector, ran over his motorcycle with a truck, and then put it on fire. The incident happened in the southern province of Antalya on March 21 evening, Turkish media outlets said.

The Syrian, whose name has not been disclosed, was collecting recyclables with his motorcycle in the Muratpaşa district on March 21 evening. As he approached a garbage container, a truck hit his motorcycle. Following the accident, three people aboard the truck got into an argument with the Syrian refugee and then battered him using stones and sticks.

The refugee, who is believed to be around 30 years old, fainted from the blows he received to his head. This time, the assailants ran over his motorcycle and put it on fire.

The refugee was dispatched to the hospital and has been reported to be in a critical situation. As he did not have an identity card on him at the time of the attack, authorities have not identified who he is, media outlets said.

Following an investigation launched by the police, two of the assailants have been caught.

The Antalya chair of the Labor Party (Emek Partisi, EMEP) has said that the attack on the Syrian refugee cannot be considered as simple bodily harm. 

“These attacks should not be considered as simply a petty crime. This is not just physical injury; it is racism and hate crime,” Hasan Alkan was quoted as saying by daily Evrensel on March 23.

“Rage that has accumulated in the face of unemployment and poverty leads to racist attacks,” Alkan said, recalling that this is not the first attack that a refugee has faced in Antalya. He recalled that similar incidents have occurred in the past years in the Manavgat and Elmalı districts.

More than 3.6 million refugees fled to Turkey following the war in Syria in 2011, but many Syrians say the welcome has worn thin. The Syrian community in Turkey has been the target of several violent attacks in recent years.