On Sunday, there was a significant escalation of tension between Syrians and Turks in the northwestern state of Kocaeli, resulting in an angry demonstration by Turkish citizens. The cause of the demonstration was the alleged poisoning of a dog owned by a Turkish family, which was attributed to Syrian migrants. As a result, many Turks took to the streets of Delovasi, expressing their discontent and demanding the expulsion of refugees. Chanting slogans such as “We don’t want refugees in our country,” the demonstrators conveyed their frustration toward Syrians.
Fortunately, the security forces in Kocaeli were able to maintain order and suppress the demonstration. They announced that 10 Syrians involved in the riots and dog poisoning had been deported. The incident originated from a dispute between a Syrian and a Turkish family residing in the same building in the Deluwasi area of the Kocaeli governorate. According to the Turkish family, the Syrian family deliberately killed their dog by poisoning it.
Videos of the march spread across social media platforms, drawing attention to the situation. Prompt intervention by security forces prevented further escalation of the event. Local authorities and the media cautioned against using these incidents to propagate hatred and provoke violence.
Addressing the issue, the office of the governor of Kocaeli released a statement through the Turkish website Bundle. They acknowledged the rapid response of security units to the confrontation and subsequent events following the dog poisoning in the Dilovasi neighbourhood on Sunday, July 2, 2023. Following legal proceedings involving the suspects, 10 foreigners were handed over to the Directorate of Immigration Management of Kocaeli District for deportation.
In a tweet, Kocaeli party deputy Lotvo Turkan alleged that the events unfolded after Syrians forcibly entered a house in the Delovasi area of Kocaeli.
Turkan further revealed that he had submitted a parliamentary inquiry to then-Interior Minister Suleiman Soylu three months prior, questioning the steps being taken to address the issue of Syria’s overpopulation in Dilovasi and the associated problems. He expressed concern that these events occurred only three months after raising the matter.
Ömer Faruk Gergerlioglu, the deputy of the Green Left Party in Kocaeli, emphasized that the incident should be approached calmly, highlighting that it is a legal matter devoid of any ethnic aspect. He argued against the notion of expelling Syrians or making generalizations solely based on a judicial case.
While tensions in the Dilovasi district of Kocaeli have subsided, the debate surrounding the incident persists. It remains unclear whether Syrians or Turks were targeted in connection with the incident, but it has been confirmed that the deportation process for ten foreigners has commenced.
Taha al-Ghazi, an activist concerned with Syrian refugee affairs, reported that the Turkish Immigration has deported approximately 130 Syrian refugees from the Elbeyli temporary shelter center to northern Syrian regions via the Öncüpınar Bab al-Salama border crossing.
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.