Turkish media on Wednesday reported that amid rising tension in the Sultangazi district, police evacuated about 300 Afghan and Syrian migrants.
Govt to Probe Attack on Afghan Migrants in Istanbul
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Wednesday said government will launch a full inquiry into reports of an attack on Afghan asylum seekers in Istanbul city earlier this week.
“The consulate general of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Istanbul is pursuing the issue with the police. They are in touch, they had a meeting today. Police have assured them that the issue is under investigation to confirm the identiy of those involved in the brawl.
This comes two days after a group of people allegedly attacked an Afghan migrant in Istanbul’s Fatih district. The man had been at the funeral of someone killed a day earlier.
Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News said on Wednesday that over 300 people of Afghan and Syrian origin were evacuated from an Istanbul neighborhood on Tuesday amid rising tension after the killing of a local man by a foreign resident on Sunday.
Hurriyet Daily News stated that Ramazan Sahin, 24, was killed during a brawl between locals and migrants in the Sultangazi district on Sunday.
On Monday riot police reportedly intervened during a demonstration and used a water cannon and tear gas to disperse the group protesting the killing.
However, according to the report, protests have swelled in the days since.
Riot police are stationed on all streets in the neighborhood, while riot control vehicles are patrolling the streets against possible escalations, reported Hurriyet Dail News.
In addition, Turkish police have evacuated about 300 Afghan and Syrian refugees who will be sent to migrant camps in different provinces, the newspaper stated.
According to the article, the initial brawl started when a group of Syrian and Afghan migrants reportedly started heckling women in the area. A fight broke out when locals reacted to the heckling. Sahin was killed in this brawl, stated the Hurriyet Daily News.
Meanwhile, according to MoFA, there are reports that several people from both sides were either killed or injured in the brawl. They did not however give any details nor reveal their identities.
This comes after video footage recently went viral on social media of a group of Turks attacking refugees with knives.
In the video, Afghans tell how their lives are being threatened in Turkey.
“This is a brutal attack. Afghans migrate to other countries for a better life, but they are not safe there,” said a resident of Kabul, Burhan.
“The attack is against Islam and humanity. We cannot justify this,” said another resident, Abdul Rahman.
Meanwhile, some Afghan lawmakers in parliament have also called on government to investigate the issue.
“The issue must be raised with the Turkish officials and their (migrants) rights and dignity must be protected,” said MP Safiullah Hashimi.
In addition, the Afghan consulate general in Istanbul in a telephonic interview told TOLOnews that police in Istanbul have arrested nearly 200 people in connection with the brawl.
“The identity of those arrested have not been confirmed so far. But majority of those live in the area are nationals of Pakistan, then the Syrians and after that the Afghans,” said Afghan consulate general Abdul Malik Quraishi.
The Turkish embassy in Kabul has confirmed the death of a Turkish citizen during the brawl, but did not provide figures about casualties among the asylum seekers.