Turkey has launched an investigation in response to publications promoting incitement against Syrian refugees, with the Turkish authorities drawing parallels to recent events in France.
The investigation, initiated by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul, was prompted by the circulation of social media posts on platforms like Twitter and Facebook that incited violence and hatred towards refugees in Turkey. These posts also suggested the possibility of organizing protests similar to those witnessed in France.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office has taken legal action to address these publications and hold accountable those responsible for writing and promoting them, as they are seen as attempts to provoke unrest. The authorities have emphasized that the events unfolding in Paris and its surroundings could not be equated with the situation in Turkey. The catalyst for these publications was the killing of a 17-year-old Algerian immigrant by French police, which sparked widespread riots and chaos. Despite the passage of five days since the incident, acts of vandalism and riots continue to escalate across France.
Coinciding with these events, numerous social media users began making baseless claims that similar incidents could occur involving refugees in Turkey. Consequently, the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office has taken legal measures against these individuals. The Public Prosecutor stated that these publications incite public hatred, hostility, and misinformation, as they disseminate provocative and manipulated content aimed at destabilizing order and public peace.
The official statement released by the Public Prosecutor’s Office reads, “Considering the recent events in France, similar incidents may occur involving refugees residing in our country. Such claims, which incite people to hatred, hostility, and misinformation, have triggered an automatic investigation against the individuals who have made statements and broadcasts containing criminal elements.”
The decision to launch the investigation followed remarks from the official spokesperson of the Justice and Development Party, Omar Celik. Celik criticized the comparison of Turkey’s immigration policy based on humanitarian values with France’s colonial policies and racist violence, deeming it an ignorant and malicious approach. He further condemned politicians, journalists, and commentators who suggested that refugees in Turkey could potentially cause conflicts akin to those seen in France. Celik viewed these statements as provocation and incitement to hatred against refugees.
Celik highlighted that since 2016, when Turkey initiated cross-border operations in response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Syria, nearly 500,000 Syrians have voluntarily returned to safe areas established by Turkey. Ankara supports and encourages voluntary return as part of its strategy. Celik emphasized that evaluating Turkey based on events in colonial countries, which have root causes rooted in racist violence, aligns with the mentality of European fascists, and such an approach will not be tolerated.
Umit Ozdag, the leader of the anti-Syrian refugee Victory Party, made provocative statements on his Twitter account suggesting that if an incident were to occur in Turkey, it would surpass the events witnessed in France as a mere child’s game. The Turkish government and its officials have vehemently rejected and disapproved of these statements, condemning them as an attempt to target Syrian refugees while sowing fear and hatred in the country, thereby undermining the existing peace.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.