Large majority of Turks against accepting more refugees, poll suggests

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More than 90 percent of Turks are against accepting more refugees amid a new and growing wave of Afghan migrants arriving in the country, local media reported on Tuesday, citing a survey recently conducted by the Konsensus Araştırma pollster.

Turkey, which hosts some 3.8 million registered Syrian refugees, is currently faced with an increasing number of Afghan nationals attempting to enter the country through Iran after the Taliban took control of the Afghan capital Kabul on Sunday. Between 500 and 1,000 Afghans are estimated to have arrived in Turkey each day since early July.

According to the poll, which was conducted in telephone interviews with 1,500 participants between July 4-10, only 9.1 percent of respondents support the idea that Turkey should accept new refugees.

When asked “Do you agree or disagree with the statement that no more refugees should be admitted to Turkey?” 67.7 percent said they agreed, while 23.2 said they “partly agreed.”

Hate crimes against refugees and migrants, who are blamed for many of Turkey’s social and economic troubles, have been escalating in the country in recent years.

Turkish media including pro-government and opposition outlets fuel and exploit the flames of hatred against people who fled their countries and sought refuge in Turkey.

On August 10, a group of locals attacked houses, workplaces and cars owned by Syrian refugees in Ankara’s Altındağ district.

In March a Syrian refugee was assaulted by a group of streetcleaners in southern Antalya province. The man was beaten and his motorcycle was crushed with a garbage truck and set on fire.

Anti-migrant sentiment has also been expressed by opposition politicians. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has promised to send Syrians back home if his party comes to power.

According to the “Hate Speech and Discriminatory Discourse in Media 2019 Report,” published by the Hrant Dink Foundation, Syrian refugees in Turkey were the second most targeted group in the Turkish media, with 760 hate speech items.

The report states they were systematically coded as criminals, murderers and thieves who posed imminent security problems including terrorism. Syrians were also represented in the media as the reason for the current adverse economic situation in Turkey and rising unemployment numbers.

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