Posted on July 1, 2024

Turkey’s President Accuses Opposition of Stoking Racism After Anti-Syrian Rioting Erupts

Associated Press, July 1, 2024

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused opposition parties of stoking xenophobia and racism on Monday, a day after residents in a neighborhood in central Turkey set Syrian-owned shops on fire.

The rioting erupted in the Melikgazi region of central Kayseri province late Sunday following reports that a Syrian refugee there had allegedly sexually harassed a 7-year-old Syrian girl. Outraged residents overturned some cars and set shops ablaze, calling on Syrians to leave.

At least 67 people suspected of involvement in the violence were detained, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced on the social media platform X.

In a televised address on Monday, Erdogan accused opposition parties, which have advocated for the repatriation of refugees, of inciting violence.

“Nothing can be achieved by fueling xenophobia and hatred of refugees in society,” Erdogan said. {snip}

When Syria’s civil war broke out in 2011, Turkey received Syrian refugees with compassion, becoming the country to host the largest refugee population globally. As the population grew and Turkey encountered escalating economic difficulties, it has seen a rise in anti-migrant sentiment. {snip}


The violence against Syrians in Kayseri drew a backlash – in some cases violent – in opposition-held areas of northwestern Syria, including those controlled by Turkish-backed forces.