Turkish police have so far detained at least eleven Syrian nationals for posting Tik Tok videos on social media showing them eating bananas in an effort to condemn racism and discrimination in Turkey.
Syrians are accused of “inciting or humiliating the [Turkish] people with hatred and hostility.” According to the local media, the Turkish government said this week that it has opened deportation proceedings against them.
The banana-eating challenge went viral following an Oct. 17 encounter on the streets of Istanbul that was captured on video, during which a Turkish man complained that he could not afford bananas due to the country’s poor economy. Turning to a female Syrian student, he then said that refugees from Syria, on the other hand, were buying the fruit by the “kilos,” living in luxury off Turkish taxpayer largesse.
In response, Syrians has begun to post banana-eating videos to poke fun at the incident.
Anti-immigrant sentiment is nearing the boiling point, fueled by Turkey’s economic woes. With unemployment high and the prices of food and housing skyrocketing, many Turks have turned their frustration toward the country’s roughly 5 million foreign residents, particularly the 3.7 million who fled the civil war in Syria.
"Provokatif muz yeme"ye iki büklüm gözaltı!
Bir sokak röportajında mülteciler için söylenen "Muz yiyemiyorum, onlar kilolarca muz alıyorlar" sözleriyle dalga geçmek için muz yeme videosu akımına katılan 11 Suriyeli genç İstanbul’da böyle gözaltına alındı https://t.co/6gfU2CxUs8 pic.twitter.com/89bpNLQqDb
— serbestiyet (@serbestiyetweb) October 28, 2021