Municipal police remove shop signs in Arabic in Gaziantep amid refugee influx
GAZİANTEP – Anadolu Agency
Police are asking Syrians operating shops in the southeastern province of Gaziantep to remove signs in Arabic a week after tensions between locals and refugees.Municipal police are asking Syrians operating shops in the southeastern province of Gaziantep to remove signs in Arabic, amid an increase in tensions between the local population and refugees in the region.
Officers have requested that shopkeepers only use Turkish in their signs and price lists, Mayor Fatma Şahin said, adding that they had received many complaints about the issue.
“If the refugees want to take part in the economy, they have to follow our rules. Otherwise, we will have to take measures,” she said. Şahin, a former family minister, suggested that signs in Arabic caused “unfair competition” and could result in situations that could “threaten public health.”
“But we are also working on using Arabic in shop signs,” she added.
Shops run by Syrians have become the target of the local population in the latest surge of clashes between locals and refugees in southeastern towns. In Gaziantep, where around 200,000 Syrians have settled since the conflict began, 400 Syrians were sent back to camps after the latest unrest last week.
The tensions had also prompted outgoing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to declare that Turkey was “showing patience” with regard to refugees. According to official figures, nearly 1 million of refugees live in urban areas and outside camps in miserable conditions. Turkey’s ability to cope with the refugees in cities has been questioned as tens of thousands have been obliged to beg, while others have managed to find jobs for very low wages and often amid increasing hostility from the local population.