Syrian shops attacked in Turkey after deadly scuffle

AFP , Thursday 12 Aug 2021

The unrest in Ankara comes with polls showing anti-migrant sentiments riding high among many Turks

A Syrian man sits in front of a Syrian shop in Gaziantep, south-west province of Turkey AFP

Dozens of angry Turks smashed up shops and cars believed to belong to Syrian migrants in the capital Ankara, prompting police to intervene, media reports said Thursday.

The unrest broke out late Wednesday in response to a fight between local residents and people believed to be Syrian migrants in which one Turkish national was stabbed to death, the reports said.

Images on social media showed dozens of shouting men breaking through police cordons and then attacking cars and shops believed to be owned by Syrian families.

"The demonstrations and events that took place in our Altinag district this evening have come to an end as a result of the composure of our citizens and the hard work of our security forces," the Ankara governor's office said on Wednesday night.

"Our people are kindly requested not to give credence to provocative news and posts," it said in reference to the fight that provoked the unrest.

The Anadolu state news agency said two "foreign nationals" have been arrested and charged with homicide in connection the deadly fight.

The unrest in Ankara comes with polls showing anti-migrant sentiments riding high among many Turks.

Turkey has become home to 3.6 million Syrians under a deal it struck with the European Union in 2016 to help avert the continent's migrant crisis.

The sides are currently working on updating the agreement.

Ankara has received billions of dollars of funding in exchange for setting up camps in the southeast that are now home to more than four million people in all.

Turkey's main opposition party last month made waves by vowing to send Syrians "back home" if it came to power in a general election scheduled for 2023.

Turkey's well-respected Teyit fact-checking platform has been debunking numerous negative social media posts about migrants -- many of them Afghan -- this week.

The issue is gaining added attention out of fears that Taliban militants' sweeping gains in Afghanistan will result in a mass exodus of people from the war-torn country once the last US and NATO troops leave in the coming weeks.

Turkey is on one of the main transit routes for Afghans seeking shelter in Europe.

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