Shady social media accounts share old videos of Afghans to target refugees in Turkey

A number of social media accounts in Turkey have begun sharing old videos of Afghans to target refugees in the country. In the newest incident, a video from 2020 that showed a group of Afghans opening the flags of Taliban and Afghanistan was presented as if it was recent.

Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR

A number of shady social media accounts in Turkey have been sharing old videos showing Afghans in Turkey to target refugees in the country. 

A video that was initially shared by Ajans Muhbir, which is known for presenting fake news about refugees, showed a group of Afghans opening the flags of Afghanistan and the Taliban in Kadıköy's Moda district. The account claimed that the incident was new, prompting outrage among thousands who have already been calling on Turkey to expel both Syrian and Afghan refugees. 

The video became widely circulated on social media and was used heavily by anti-refugee accounts even though it was later revealed that the footage was dated 2020. 

The Ajans Muhbir Twitter account was seen to have deleted the video some four hours after posting it, but that failed to stop thousands of other accounts from sharing the video as if it happened recently - mostly accompanied by racist messages.

Speaking to Duvar, Public Relations Specialist Umar Karatepe, who posted on Twitter the facts about the video in question, said that the issue can't be branded as "an honest mistake." 

"This happened multiple times in the past. Disinformation spreads and then gets retracted silently, but at that point, it's everywhere on social media. This is done consciously and openly," Karatepe said. 

"This is a very dangerous situation. This is organized and keeps pouring fuel to the fire," he said. 

Anti-refugee sentiment has been running high in Turkey, mostly against Afghans, since thousands have escaped from their countries amid the flare-up of violence between the Taliban and government forces. 

Numerous videos showed Afghans entering Turkey through Iran and heading towards Turkey's western cities from the border province of Van. 

The heightened racist and anti-refugee sentiment prompted Turkish police to release a statement, calling on everyone to watch out for provocations and fake content that's brought into circulation intentionally.