A false sexual harassment allegation of a little girl has led to some Turkish citizens attacking Syrian refugees in Istanbul, Gazete Duvar news portal reported on Saturday.
The allegation of assault by Syrians in Istanbul’s Kucukcekmece district, one of the refugee settlements of the city was later refuted by police. The attack on Syrians was carried out by a crowd that gathered in front of a police station in the Ikitelli neighborhood, where some Syrian refugees were taken into custody for assaulting a Turkish child.
Over the allegations of a Syrian raping a young boy (didn’t happen), a mob gathered in #ikitelli , Istanbul and attacked stores owned by Syrians. You can see them trying to break into a store while someone plays İzmir Marşı (a classic for nationalists) on the background. pic.twitter.com/ytDNggU39P
— Spotweld (@Spotweld1) June 30, 2019
According to the news report, the group attacked Syrians living in the neighborhood and looted their places of work in what quickly turned into a lynch attempt against the refugees.
Some of the attackers were detained by the police after they dispersed the crowd
with tear gas and water cannons. Police falsified the sexual assault report and
stated the incident is about a 12-year-old Syrian’s asking over another 12-year-
old and saying “come, come” from his home’s window.
“There were no physical contacts,” the police explained after taking statements of both children.
Istanbul Governor’s Office also released a statement about the issue saying it
was a misunderstanding and therefore parents of the little girl will not be
pressing charges against the Syrian boy.
The hashtag #suriyelileryalnızdeğildir (Syrians are not alone) became a top trending topic on Twitter in Turkey after many social media users shared messages of solidarity with the refugees over lynch attempt.
Right groups emphasized the racist attacks against Syrian refugees in Turkey
have intensely accelerated.
A 2018 poll conducted by Istanbul Bilgi University’s Centre for Migration
The research revealed more than 70 percent of Turkish people believe Syrian
refugees are taking their jobs.
It also showed two-thirds of Turkish people think Syrians are responsible for increasing the crime rate in the country. Having adopted an open door policy since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Turkey is currently home to a reported 3.8 million Syrian refugees.