Syrians evacuated in Turkey’s Konya upon attack by local mob, after killing of migrant
KONYA – Doğan News AgencyPolice evacuated Syrians from their homes after one man was killed and an angry mob of hundreds of locals attacked the houses and workplaces of Syrian refugees in the Central Anatolian province of Konya’s Karapınar district on Aug. 21.
Tension arose early on Aug. 21 following an argument between 20-year-old Mehmet Ertunç and two older Syrians, identified as Mustafa El Muhammed and Hüseyin El Muhammed, who Ertunç claimed had harassed his sister. The dispute between the two parties flared up quickly, after which Ertunç went home to get his hunting rifle. He then returned to shoot the two Syrians, reportedly killing Mustafa El Muhammed and injuring Hüseyin El Muhammed.
Ertunç and two others thought to have been involved in the killing were arrested by a court order on Aug. 21. However, tension continued to rise as hundreds of locals who organized on social media over allegations of sexual harassment gathered at a square in Karapınar at around 9 p.m. and marched through the district. After singing the Turkish national anthem, the crowd dispersed upon a warning from the police.
However, part of the group then went to a former community clinic building in the district’s Çetni neighborhood, which is currently housing Syrian migrants. Police, supported by additional riot police sent from nearby districts, intervened to disperse the angry crowed with armored water cannons.
Karapınar District Governor Mustafa Karaca also came to the area in a bid to persuade the crowd. After vowing that the Syrians would be evacuated from the district, some in the mob dispersed, after which police evacuated the migrants staying in the former community clinic building.
Some locals who had gathered in the mob, however, headed toward houses and workplaces of Syrians in different parts of the district, attacking them with stones and sticks. They broke the windows of a number of houses and some even attempted to set the buildings on fire.
Nobody was injured or killed in the attacks, as police had also in advance evacuated the Syrians from these buildings as a precaution.