Turkey Says It Will Deport 7 Syrians For “Provocative” Videos

Turkey, the country that hosts the largest number of Syrian refugees, announced the arrest and planned deportation of 7 Syrians for sharing a video of themselves eating bananas in a “provocative” way. Turkish officials say the video was an insult to their country. Syrians, however, say the video came in response to the ongoing anti-immigration sentiment in Turkey. The problem started when a Turkish man shouted to a Syrian woman before the camera, saying “I can’t eat bananas and you buy them by the kilogram on the market.” 

The Syrians, in response, have posted videos of themselves eating bananas to mock the Turkish anti-immigration rhetoric. Their response was perceived, by many, as an act of defense. The video came in a time of economic woes. This partially explains why Turks have been so rude to Syrians lately. Though the video might be provocative, the deportation of the seven Syrians violates international law, especially the 1951 Refugee Convention. Refugees, according to international law, should be protected from returning back to their war-torn countries, where they are expected to get exposed to human rights violations. The Turkish government, in addition, has not provided any details about where these people would be deported to. 

“If they face a threat to their lives or face torture and ill-treatment, the responsibility rests with not only those who deported them but those who turned innocent social media posts into a new anti-migration campaign,” Metin Corbatir, the president of the Ankara-based research center on Asylum and  Migration, said
Omar Kadkoy, a policy analyst at the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, said: “The deportation announcement shows a bankruptcy of policy. Do the Syrians have no right to express their views when they are faced with discrimination or use sarcasm against the anti-refugee myths? What does it say for freedom of expression? Worse, what does it say about social cohesion between the Turkish and Syrian communities, except to say it is on very thin ice?”

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