For Syrians it seemed like good news: the announcement that Turkey might offer citizenship to some of the refugees living in the country.
But the indication, dropped by President Erdogan in an address on Saturday, was followed by a depressing response. On Sunday, the hashtag #ÜlkemdeSuriyeliİstemiyorum, roughly translated as “I don’t want Syrians in my country”, was top trending in Turkey.
The trend is a depressing reminder of the xenophobia faced by refugees fleeing war – and of the very real challenges of integrating more than 2.7 million Syrian refugees into Turkey.
Müslümanların %99'u terörist değil ama teröristlerin %99'u müslüman #ÜlkemdeSuriyeliİstemiyorum— Gâvur (@ateisthafiz) 3 July 2016
99% of Muslims aren't terrorists, but 99% of terrorists are Muslim.
Get Out #IDon’tWantSyriansInMyCountry
#ÜlkemdeSuriyeliİstemiyorum! I hate Syrian refugee in my country!— burak (@DoganBurak19) 3 July 2016
Türkiyede 200Bin suriyeli bebek doğdu. Savaştan kaçıp sevişmeye gelmişler. Kerhane mi ulan bu ülke ? #ÜlkemdeSuriyeliİstemiyorum— Ömer Güner (@OmerrGunerr) 3 July 2016
200,000 Syrian babies were born in Turkey. They escaped from the war to come and have sex. Is this country a brothel man?
The hashtag did inspire some counter narratives, however, with both Syrians and Turkish tweeters urging coexistence and acceptance.
Instead of a fascist discourse like this, say "who are these people, why are people from abroad here in your home?"
By Sunday afternoon the hashtag was still going strong – though it included as many protest tweets calling out its racism than users preaching against Syrians.
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