Turkey’s Interior Ministry in a statement drew attention to provocations in the media against Syrian refugees Wednesday, warning of the danger of spreading falsified information in the wake of recent cases affecting cities across Turkey.
The statement pointed out that some media outlets and social media accounts were being used to deliberately spread hate and misinformation to accuse Syrian refugees of “escalating crime.”
The ministry added that the targets are being manipulated as a “tool for internal politics” and to stir public unrest.
Tensions between local Turks and Syrian refugees in some cities across Turkey have escalated in recent days. However, it was recently revealed that some fake social media accounts were created to spread false news and distorted facts, implicating Syrian nationals of crimes, to incite hatred among Turkish citizens against Syrian refugees.
The statement debunked claims of increasing crime rates among Syrian nationals in Turkey, backed by statistics provided by the ministry.
“The crime rate among Syrians was 1.32 percent between 2014 and 2017 – and the majority of those cases were mostly mutual disputes among Syrians. Despite the rising refugee population, their involvement in crime in Turkey decreased by 5 percent in the first half of 2017,” the statement read.
Speaking to the Turkish daily Hürriyet on Tuesday, Turkish deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak said the allegations of higher crime rates among Syrian nationals do not reflect the truth.
“No one in Turkey has the freedom to commit crimes. If people witness a crime, they can inform the proper security forces and the authorities about it,” he said.
Kaynak said, “People in Turkey have shown immense generosity towards Syrian refugees but having an accusatory mentality towards them is unacceptable.”
The deputy prime minister also said that they expect most Syrian refugees are likely to return home to Syria after the establishment of safe zones within the country.
“Turkey considers at this issue from a humanitarian perspective. Here, about 1.2 million Syrian women need help. We cannot neglect that need,” he said.
Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, more than 400,000 people have been killed and more than 11 million displaced, 6.3 million internally and 5.1 million externally, according to the U.N.
Turkey hosts more than 3 million Syrian refugees, which is around 45 percent of all Syrian refugees in the region, more than any other country in the world. It has spent around $25 billion in providing help and shelter to the displaced Syrian population.