from: ANDREW WILKS, Associated Press
Posted: Oct 30, 2021 / 12:59 PM CDT
Updated: 10/30/2021 / 12:59 p.m. CDT
ISTANBUL (AP) – Seven Syrians face deportation from Turkey after posting videos of themselves eating bananas on social media amid broader complaints about the alleged lifestyle of refugees, a Turkish news agency reported on Saturday.
The seven and a Syrian minor were arrested on Friday in the western city of Izmir, said the private news agency Demiroren. At the beginning of the week, the Turkish migration authority announced that another seven foreigners would be deported for similar reasons.
Videos of people posing as Syrians eating bananas have surfaced since footage from an online news agency surfaced on October 17 showing an argument between a young Syrian woman and a group of Turks on a street in Istanbul.
One hears a middle-aged man complaining, “You live comfortably. I can’t eat a banana, you buy kilos of bananas. ”One woman also criticizes 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.
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 beginning of the conflict, the mood on the ground has turned against them due to deteriorating economic conditions in Turkey.
Some Turks complain that Syrians live comfortably in Turkey while struggling to pay for basic services in the face of high unemployment and inflation.
Demiroren reported that those detained in Izmir should be deported for “endangering public order and security”. The minor was handed over to a youth welfare office.
In a statement published on Wednesday, the Directorate-General for Migration Management announced that a deportation procedure will be initiated against seven foreigners after they have been processed by the judicial system.
It added that “efforts are underway to expose all provocative posts … and carry out the necessary judicial and administrative proceedings against anyone who makes these posts”.
The next day, the Istanbul police announced that eleven Syrians had been arrested for “inciting hatred” and “insulting the Turkish people”.
It was not clear where the detainees should be deported. The principle of non-refoulement prohibits taking someone back to a place where they are at risk of persecution or mistreatment.
Turkey insists that it respects and obeys these rules, but groups like Human Rights Watch have documented claims that Syrians have been sent back to their country.
Follow AP’s global migration reporting at https://apnews.com/hub/migration