Violent anti-migrant protests erupt in Turkey

Anti-migrant protesters have attacked houses, shops and cars owned by Syrians in Turkey’s capital after tensions flared over the alleged killing of a local teenager.

The violence erupted on Wednesday night following reports that a Syrian refugee had stabbed two Turkish men in a fight.

Hundreds of locals descended on an area of Ankara where a community of Syria migrants and refugees live.

Videos online showed groups of men overturning cars and vandalising shops.

Anti-migrant sentiment in Turkey has been rising in recent years, with a number of politicians campaigning for harsher restrictions.

Tensions have flared recently with the arrival of thousands of Afghans fleeing a rapidly escalating war in their country.

The United Nations estimates that Turkey currently hosts the largest number of refugees worldwide, including more than three million Syrians.

Wednesday’s attacks in the Altindag neighbourhood came after 18-year-old Emirhan Yalcin was killed in a fight between Syrian refugees and locals in the same area earlier in the day.

Prosecutors said an investigation was launched and two people were arrested.

After reports about the incident spread, hundreds of protesters flooded the streets of Altindag.

The independent Duvar news website said crowds chanting anti-Syrian slogans were seen in videos attacking businesses and homes belonging to Syrians.

Riot police were deployed to the area to quell the violence. Turkish reports say police evacuated some Syrians from the neighbourhood by buses.

Late on Wednesday night, the Ankara Governor’s Office said the violent protests had ended with “intense efforts of the police force”.

But on social media, some people criticised the police for what they saw as an inadequate response to the violence.

In a tweet, the pro-minority opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) called for an immediate stop to attacks on the migrant community in Turkey. -BBC

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