The worsening economic situation in Turkey has turned local sentiment against the Syrians.
Several Syrians are threatened with deportation from Turkey after posting videos of themselves eating bananas as part of a “provocation” while “inciting hatred” following tensions between the host community and the refugees over their financial well-being.
Eight Syrians, including a minor, were arrested in the western city of Izmir, the Turkish news agency Demiroren said on Saturday. The Turkish migration authority announced earlier this week that another seven foreigners would be deported for similar reasons.
Videos of people posing as Syrians eating bananas have surfaced since October 17 when an online news agency filmed an argument between a young Syrian woman and a group of Turks on a street in Istanbul.
In the video, you can hear a middle-aged man complaining, “You live comfortably. I can’t eat a banana, you buy kilos of bananas. ”A woman also criticized Syrians for not fighting in the country’s war, but for returning to religious festivals.
A TikTok video released in response showed a group of young men laughing as they chewed bananas in a barber shop while the street interview soundtrack played in the background.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the Directorate-General for Migration Management said that “it is being done to expose all provocative posts … and to carry out the necessary judicial and administrative proceedings against anyone holding those posts”.
It was said that deportation proceedings would be initiated against seven foreigners after they had been processed by the judiciary, but did not specify where the detainees would be deported. The principle of non-refoulement prohibits sending someone back to a place where they could be persecuted or mistreated.
Istanbul police said 11 Syrians had been arrested for “inciting hatred” and “insulting the Turkish people”.
Turkey is home to the world’s largest refugee population, mainly made up of 3.6 million Syrians living under temporary protection. While they were largely welcomed at the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, local sentiment has turned against them due to deteriorating economic conditions in Turkey.
Some Turks complain that Syrians have a higher standard of living while struggling to meet their basic needs in the face of high unemployment and inflation.