Some of 474 detained in attacks on Syrian refugees had records of migrant smuggling, looting

Interior Minister Ali Yerliyaka announced that 474 people were detained nationwide in racist attacks against Syrian migrants. Some of them have criminal records for offenses such as migrant smuggling, looting, or sexual harassment.

Duvar English

Minister of Interior Ali Yerlikaya on July 2 announced that 474 people were detained nationwide in connection with the racist attacks targeting Syrian refugees during late July 1.

The minister deemed attacks “provocative actions carried out using illegal means,” and stated that 285 of detainees had previous criminal records.

According to the minister, the detainees have criminal records for offenses including migrant smuggling even though they were reportedly mobilized against the immigrants in the country and shouted anti-immigrant and racist slogans during attacks.

Other previous criminal records included injury, drugs, looting, theft, damage to property, sexual harassment, fraud, forgery of money, threats, insults, and deprivation of liberty.

The attacks have been continued mainly in Kayseri, Hatay, Adana, Kayseri, Şanlıurfa, Bursa, and Gaziantep provinces

What happened?

In Kayseri province, many workplaces and vehicles belonging to Syrians were vandalized in the attacks that started after the news that a child was harassed by a Syrian man on June 30.

These attacks continued in many provinces where Syrian refugees live throughout July 1.

For example, in Gaziantep, a group carrying Turkish flags vandalized the vehicles of Syrians by shouting takbir, and a Syrian youth walking on the road was stabbed.

Syrian Human Rights Activist Taha Elgazi interviewed Syrians living in Kayseri and shared his observations with Ferhat Yaşar from Gazete Duvar.

Elgazi, who went to the neighborhood where Syrian refugees live, reported that most of the shops had been burnt down and cars smashed. Stating that there was a big looting, the activist noted that the materials inside the shops were poured on the streets.

“The issue is not only the burning and destruction of workplaces. Throwing stones at the houses of Syrian refugees, breaking the windows... When passing through the neighborhood, young people throw stones and break the windows, saying ‘This is the house of Syrians.’ These are horrible,” Elgazi noted.

"People are afraid. Women and children have taken refuge in mosques. I spoke with them and they said, 'We sought refuge in the mosques, but the attackers outside continued to shout "Allahu Akbar" as they attacked.' Who are you shouting 'Allahu Akbar' against? Those seeking refuge in the mosque are also Muslims. There are children and women. You took to the streets to defend the rights of a child, but do you know how many children you frightened and how many people you traumatized,” Elgazi said.