Emirhan Yalcin, 18, was killed in an altercation between Turks and Syrians in the neighborhood on Wednesday afternoon. As night fell on Ankara, an angry mob descended on Altindag, targeting the Syrian refugee community: smashing and looting shops, overturning cars, and throwing bricks and rocks through windows of homes.
At one point, items looted from shops were thrown into a pile on the street and set on fire.
Turkish media reported that police had used buses to evacuate some Syrians from the neighborhood.
Ankara police said they arrested 76 people, either for involvement in the riot or for making “misleading posts on social media” to incite violence. Of those, 38 people had criminal records, including charges of looting, violence and burglary, police said.
“They came and shouted ‘Go to Syria’ and then stoned the windows,” one woman, wearing a full niqab, told a local outlet. She said her husband was a martyr – someone who died in the holy war – and showed the shattered glass and the brick that landed in the middle of their dinner.
“I am so afraid,” she added. “What one Syrian does now means trouble for all of us.”
Though its name means “mountain of gold” in Turkish, Altindag is a poor area of about half a million residents. A number of them are displaced persons from the war in Syria, which began in 2011 when militants backed by Turkey – among other countries – tried to overthrow the government in Damascus.
Ankara continues to back the militants, though the territory under their control has since been reduced to only parts of the Idlib province.
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