The banana war has begun in Turkey

Turkey_banana_war

Turkey TurkeyIt is the banana conflict between Syrian refugees and Turkey. It sounds like the theme of a humorous sketch or a joke, but it happened. Two viral videos triggered an unprecedented crisis between the Syrian population in Istanbul and the Turkish officials.

It all started with a fight in the market when a middle-aged Turkey addressed the refugees: “I see the Syrians in the bazaar buying kilos of bananas, and I can’t afford them.” However, the Syrians responded with another video on TikTok, where they eat banana after banana and make fun of the Turks. They never did. Eleven of them got an expulsion order, and now they risk ending up in Syria, and maybe in the hands of Assad.

Banana games were just for fun on the web, but they didn’t appreciate everyone. A photo on social media even substituted the Turkish flag with a scorched banana. In an atmosphere of growing resentment towards Turkey’s large Syrian community, bananas have become a representation of division between the two communities. The newly founded Nationalist Victory Party recorded a complaint against Syrian TikTok users for “offending the Turkish people and their flag.” Others on social media said the videos sham the dire economic situation the Turks are suffering.

At a time of economic difficulty, these videos also upset the government. As a result, Turkish police accused the 11 Syrians arrested of “provocation and incitement to hatred.” As a result, the immigration authority announced it would deport them after completing the necessary paperwork. On the social networks, however, a member of the Syrian diaspora specified: “We are not making fun of the Turks, we are making fun of racism. The economic deterioration affects us all .

Turkey is home to the largest refugee population in the world, including 3.6 million Syrians. However, anti-migrant sentiment is rising, with several Turkish nationalist politicians fighting for stricter restrictions on those who want to enter the country. In addition, there are strict laws in Turkey that prohibit insults against the state, its flag, and the president. The creators of these banana videos could be prosecuted under these laws.

According to some critics, the Turks have begun to consider Syrian refugees as a “scapegoat” to explain the severe economic crisis that the country is experiencing. However, the UN refugee agency report suggested that over 80% of Turks believe displaced Syrians thrive on government subsidies. Less than half of the refugee population receives a monthly allowance of about $ 12 per family member, just enough to cover household costs.

But as social trends come and go, these videos could have lasting results for some Syrians. The growing hostility towards Syrian expatriates in Turkey has already turned into violence. In August, law enforcement officers caught seventy-six people after a gathering stormed an Ankara neighborhood where many Syrian immigrants live. A mass of people overthrew cars, vandalized stores, and chanted anti-Syrian catchwords. Turkey used to be a country that once had a strong sense of humor. Now it just seems like a distant reminiscence.

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