Racist attacks against Syrian refugees accelerate across Turkey

Racist attacks against Syrian refugees have been increasing in Kayseri, Hatay, Adana, Şanlıurfa, Bursa, and Gaziantep provinces, with refugees' shops and vehicles being set on fire.

Duvar English

In Kayseri, Hatay, Adana, Şanlıurfa, Bursa, and Gaziantep, attacks on Syrian refugees have escalated to the point of setting their shops and vehicles on fire and reportedly stabbing refugees on the streets. 

The attacks began on June 30 in Kayseri province following a child abuse case and intensified on July 1 with assaults on Turkish military bases in Syria by Free Syrian Army militants.

In Hatay's Reyhanlı district, near the Syrian border, some locals attacked shops in areas densely populated by Syrian refugees in the late afternoon. 

A crowd gathered in front of the municipal building, waving Turkish flags and chanting "We don't want refugees" while making far-right Gray Wolves hand gestures. Heavy security measures were taken with water cannons and riot police, and several streets leading to the municipality were closed to traffic.

In Adana's Seyhan district, a group on motorcycles attempted to enter some neighborhoods with Turkish flags to stage a convoy. Police prevented the group from entering the neighborhood. The racist group shouted slogans of “We don't want Syrians,” and continued to tour the city.

Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality Council's main opposition Republican People’s Party Spokesperson Hasan Şencan shared a video of a group walking, chanting racist slogans. “Dear people of Gaziantep, please call our children back home. They are participating in actions that could be provoked. Young people, return to your homes,” he noted.

In the border town of Akçakale in Şanlıurfa province, shops belonging to Syrians were attacked. 

Groups gathered in the Altıparmak district of Bursa province also marched with slogans targeting Syrians.

Syrian shopkeepers in Bursa closed their shops early due to security concerns. Especially in the city square and neighborhoods where Syrians live densely, groups started to gather. 

These groups exploded fireworks until the police dispersed the crowd and set up barricades on the streets leading to the neighborhoods where Syrians live.

Several social media posts also shared footage from the attacks showing attackers setting fire the vehicles and shops belonging the Syrian refugees. Some users reported that individual Syrians were attacked by the mobs while walking in the street.