Syrian refugees deported from Turkey for 'provocative' banana-eating

31 suspects were investigated by Turkish police on charges of "provocatively" eating bananas in social media posts.

The banana was concealed under a plastic bag (photo credit: PEXELS)
The banana was concealed under a plastic bag
(photo credit: PEXELS)

11 Syrians were arrested and seven will be deported from Turkey on charges of "provocatively" eating bananas in social media posts after a storm erupted surrounding a video of a Turkish citizen complaining about Syrian refugees being able to afford "kilos of bananas," while he could not afford bananas.

The Istanbul Police Department has taken action against 31 suspects in total in the banana case, arresting 11, according to Turkish media. 11 of the suspects are still on the run. The suspects arrested were charged with the crime of inciting or insulting the public to hatred and hostility.

The case began with a video of a Turkish man in Istanbul complaining that he could not afford to buy bananas, while Syrians could afford "kilograms of bananas," according to Bloomberg magazine. A trend on social media began afterward, with Syrian refugees posting photos and videos of themselves eating bananas intended on mocking the Turkish citizen's complaint.

According to Turkey's Directorate General of Migration Management, over 3.7 million Syrian refugees lived in Turkey as of October 2021. Violent anti-migrant protests broke out in Turkey earlier this year after a Turkish citizen was killed in a brawl with Syrian refugees.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition party in Turkey, vowed in September to send all Syrian and Afghan refugees back to their homes within two years of coming to power, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

“I am very sensitive on this issue. I am not racist. I’m not angry at the people who came here, but at the people who made them come here,” said Kılıçdaroğlu during a meeting in September, adding that Turkey can "hardly feed itself and cannot take the burden of the refugees.”