Syrian businesses in Turkish province attacked after false rumors of fight with police
DHA photoBusinesses belonging to Syrians were attacked by Turkish citizens after false rumors of a fight with police officers in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa late on March 26.
A group of around 150 people attacked businesses after hearing that a fight erupted between police officers and a “Syrian,” while in fact the man was a local from the province.
The man, identified only as Mehmet K., started to argue with his girlfriend in Haşimiye Square in the Eyyübiye district of Şanlıurfa, and he then started to beat her. Upon seeing the incident, police teams intervened but Mehmet K. resisted them. Locals witnessing the incident assumed that Mehmet K. was a Syrian and themselves tried to attack him.
Mehmet K. was taken to a nearby bakery by the police in order to calm the crowd. Meanwhile, people had started to gather in the area and Mehmet K., who was kept in the bakery until the group dispersed, was taken to police headquarters under tight security measures in an armored vehicle.
Police warned Şanlıurfa residents about provocative posts shared on social media, but a group of around 150 people gathered in the center of the district and attacked businesses belonging to Syrians.
Syrians, meanwhile, closed their shops after the attacks and tried to shelter in their homes.
Tension continued to rise after the group started shouting slogans, including “We don’t want Syrians,” in Topçu Square, around which many Syrians live. They then started trying to attack Syrians they saw on the street, before heading to the Bahçelievler neighborhood and attacking Syrian businesses with rocks and sticks, smashing windows the of the shops.
After the escalation of tension, police took security measures with armored vehicles in the neighborhoods and streets where Syrians live.
Police also released another statement, saying provocations were spreading on social media warning against those who want to “create chaos” by bringing Syrians and local Şanlıurfa residents into confrontation. The authorities also stated that Mehmet K., who engaged in a fight with the police, was not Syrian.
“A police officer was beaten after police intervened in a fight between a Şanlıurfa resident and his girlfriend. People in the area saw the incident and rumors that the man was a Syrian spread,” the statement read.
It added that Mehmet K., who is registered to the Akçakale district, has been detained.
Turkey currently hosts around 3 million refugees, with only a small portion of them living in camps.