Syrian car hits family in Gaziantep, raising racial tensions
GAZİANTEP – Doğan News Agency
DHA PhotoTension between locals and Syrians escalated in the southeastern province of Gaziantep when a car with a Syrian plate hit a family on July 15, injuring a mother and a daughter.
The Syrian driver, whose identity remains unknown, crashed into the family of four while the latter was crossing the Özdemirbey Avenue in the evening hours. Güneş Aydoğan, 54, and her 5-year-old daughter Betül Aydoğan were taken to hospital after being injured in the accident.
Turkish citizens who gathered at the scene attacked the car and broke its windows, attempting to lynch the Syrian driver.
The outraged group also attacked other cars with Syrian plates that were passing by.
Police dispersed the group and took the driver to the police station.
The group later marched to Savcılı neigborhood where many Syrian people who fled the conflict in their war-torn country have been living. Police intervened when the group attempted to march on workplaces run by Syrian people.
Some Syrian owners removed Arabic signs on the windows of their workplaces following the incident.
Police have increased security measures in the region.
Justice and Development Party (AKP) Gaziantep lawmaker Ali Şahin condemned the incident via Twitter, calling on citizens not to be part of provocations.
A masked group attacked shops run by Syrian refugees in the southern province of Adana on July 14, while some 1,000 locals in Kahramanmaraş marched against the presence of Syrian migrants in the city.
The number of Syrians who are housed in refugee camps and cities in neighboring Turkey has reached 1.05 million, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay said last month.