27 July 2022
With the Turkish government struggling to deal with one of the most serious economic crises the country has faced in decades, another troubling problem is rearing its head – the rise of anti-refugee sentiment in the country.
According to the Turkish government, approximately 3.7 million Syrian refugees out of a total of 5.5 million foreigners are living in Turkey.
A total of 200,950 Syrians have become citizens of Turkey after taking refuge in the country since the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011.
The Turkish presidency says approximately 320,000 people of other nationalities – predominantly from Afghanistan – are also under international protection in Turkey, putting the total refugee number at more than four million, the world’s largest refugee population in one country.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proudly spoken of his country’s success in hosting refugees, often slamming developed countries for not doing enough to help people in need fleeing from crisis areas.
However, rising reports of violence, abuse and crime between Syrian and Turkish communities in various cities across the country have made it hard to ignore the increased tension.
Most recently, a video of a 17-year-old Syrian being confronted by a group of Turks went viral, with the teenager telling the crowd that he had been forced to leave school because of abuse directed towards him for his nationality.