Wednesday 12/8/21
IMMIGRATION

Turkey to deport migrant group over 'provocative' social media posts

The 'banana controversy' is part of a growing resentment against migrants in Turkey amid economic difficulties

11 October 2021, Turkey, Istanbul: People walk in front of the Hagia Sophia Mosque. Turkey recorded 188 deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours. Photo: Hakan Akgun/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire/dpa.
People walk in front of the Hagia Sophia Mosque, in Istanbul. Photo: Hakan Akgun/dpa.

Turkey's migration authorities say they will deport seven people - believed to be Syrians - for "provocatively" sharing images of themselves eating bananas on social media after Turkish citizens complained that they can't afford them themselves.

"Seven foreign nationals have been detained in an investigation over provocative social media posts ... and deportation procedures will start," Turkey’s migration authority said late Wednesday.

Local media said the foreigners are Syrian nationals. It was not immediately clear when they would be expelled.

In a video taken in Istanbul on 17 October, locals chided a Syrian female student for living comfortably while Turks struggle to make ends meet.

“You are living more comfortably. I can’t eat banana, you are buying kilograms of banana from markets,” a Turkish told the Syrian youngster who explained that she escaped war and has nowhere else to go.

The Turkish woman then joined to accuse Syrians of enjoying life in Turkey instead of going back to Syria to fight.

Several posts later popped up social media, allegedly showing Syrians eating bananas and mocking the street interview.

'Banana controversy'

The banana controversy is part of a growing resentment against migrants in Turkey amid economic difficulties.

Turkey is home to more than 4 million refugees, 3.6 million of them Syrians.

In August, hundreds of locals attacked Syrian homes and businesses in capital Ankara after a Turkish youth was stabbed to death in a fight allegedly with Syrians.

The anti-migrant sentiment grew after increased attempts by Afghans to cross into Turkey over the summer.

Turkey has already built a 1,000-kilometre-long wall and a further 300-kilometre-long fence is under construction to fend off migrant inflows along its eastern borders, state news agency Anadolu reported this week.

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