Türkiye: 474 people arrested after anti-Syrian riots

Türkiye: 474 people arrested after anti-Syrian riots
Türkiye: 474 people arrested after anti-Syrian riots

Turkish authorities have arrested 474 people after anti-Syrian riots in several cities sparked by the arrest of a Syrian man suspected of harassing a child in his entourage, the interior minister said on Tuesday.

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“474 people were arrested after acts of provocation” carried out against Syrians in Turkey, the minister, Ali Yerlikaya, indicated on the social network X.

Since the arrest of a Syrian suspected of harassing a child, tensions have increased in Turkey against the Syrian community.

Groups of men targeted Syrian-owned businesses and property in Kayseri, central Turkey, on Sunday evening.

Several videos published on social networks and authenticated by AFP showed men smashing the window of a grocery store supposedly run by Syrian traders, before setting it on fire.

“We don’t want any more Syrians! We don’t want any more foreigners!” a man shouts in one of the videos.

The Kayseri governorate called on residents to exercise restraint, specifying in a statement that the child victim of harassment, aged five, also had Syrian nationality.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday condemned the latest wave of violence against Turkey’s large Syrian refugee community.

“No matter who they are, it is unacceptable to set fire to people’s streets and homes,” he said, while warning that hate speech should not be used for political purposes.

But the violence spread to other cities across the country on Monday evening, including Istanbul.

Police have stepped up security around the Syrian consulate in Istanbul, an AFP journalist reported.

Turkey, which hosts some 3.2 million Syrian refugees out of a population of 85 million, has been rocked by bouts of xenophobia several times in recent years, often triggered by rumours spreading on social media and instant messaging apps.

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