Many Syrian refugee families living in the Battalgazi and Önder neighbourhoods in Altindağ, Ankara, have been forced to leave their homes and businesses after racist attacks there on 11-12 August.
A number of businesses were also looted in the attacks. Moreover, not all of these businesses belong solely to Syrian refugees. Businesses run by refugees with Turkish partners were also looted by the attackers, Mezopotamya Ajansi (MA) reports.
Syrian refugee Abdullah El Hesen has been living in the neigborhood with his family for eight years and was running a furniture shop with his Turkish friend Bekir Coşkun. Their workplace was destroyed during the attacks, and MA interviewed them about that night.
El Hesen says that the attackers stole ten LCD televisions that were in the shop. ”There is also a shop selling second-hand goods across the street. All they did to that place was break the windows but because out goods were brand-new, they broke the windows and stole our goods. In total we have losses of around 60,000 TL,” he says.
He states that there are still threats, so they have emptied their shop. Someone came to his workplace in the morning and threatened him saying, ”Get your things. We’re going to come back in the evening, we’re going to demolish it, we’re going to burn it down.”
El Hesen claims that the police did not protect their homes and workplaces during the attacks: ”The police did nothing at all. If they had protected our shop, it wouldn’t be in this state. If I don’t take what’s left, they will come and burn it all, I’m worried about my family.”
Bekir Coşkun, a Turkish man who has been business partners with El Hesen for six years, agrees with him. He is upset, and says that he could not do anything about it that night as there were too many attackers.
“I was outside the shop at the time of the incident yesterday, but I couldn’t do anything about it because there were too many people. Everyone had come to loot. They attacked the shop because my partner is a Syrian, but they didn’t stop at breaking the windows, almost everything in the shop was stolen. During the attack, they threw out our armchairs and burned them.”