Turkey to deport Syrians for ‘banana-eating’ videos amid hostility to refugees
Turkish authorities are planning to deport seven Syrians after they posted sarcastic videos online in response to comments by a Turkish man who accused Syrian refugees of driving up the prices of bananas.
The Turkish interior ministry announced that it had detained the seven Syrians, who had posted videos showing themselves eating bananas.
It described their actions as “provocative incitement”.
The videos were posted in response to a previous video showing a Turkish man berating a Syrian woman for buying bananas.
“You’re living more comfortably. I can’t eat bananas, you are buying kilograms of bananas,” the Turkish man was shown saying.
A Turkish woman joined him in his accusations against the Syrian woman and the video, which was taken by a journalist and posted on Twitter, went viral.
An estimated 3.7 million Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey since the Syrian conflict began in 2011.
🛑 Türkiye'de yaşayan Suriye'liler sosyal medyada muz yeme akımı başlattı— HolyPolitic (@holypolitic) October 25, 2021
🛑 Syrians living in #Turkey started a banana eating trend on social media#Syria #Suriye Turkey #Breaking #BreakingNews #Dolar10TL pic.twitter.com/QZeK6sKHWA
In recent years they have suffered increasing discrimination and bigotry, with some being rounded up and arbitrarily deported to war zones in Syria by Turkish authorities.
The 2019 Istanbul mayoral election was accompanied by a wave of racism and attacks on Syrians and political parties have used the presence of refugees to compete with each other, adopting tough populist stances on the issue.
The situation was recently exacerbated by the killing of a Turkish teenager by Syrians during a knife fight, which sparked revenge attacks on Syrians, as well as the deteriorating economic situation in Turkey which has seen the national currency plunge against the dollar.
The seven detained Syrians were not the only refugees to post pictures and footage of themselves eating bananas in response to the video, posted on October 17.
The incident has sparked a war on social media, with many refugees posting similar images to protest discrimination.
Following the arrests, however, the Turkish interior ministry warned that authorities would “pursue those who made videos and pictures which were publicized recently on social media,” suggesting that further arrests will be made.