In recent days there have been reports of horrific incidents in the city of Gaziantep in southeast Turkey, where more than 200,000 Syrians are living. Extreme right-wing groups are hunting Syrians in city streets. When caught, their prey are badly beaten up. The police have stepped up security measures especially in city neighborhoods where such incidents tend to happen most. Gaziantep Mayor Fatma Sahin and civil society representatives have been calling for calm and reason. Most observers say the protests are prompted by increasing rents and unemployment after the arrival of Syrians.
Gaziantep, an industrial city in the southeast that is the hub of most Turkish exports to the Middle East, has been a magnet for thousands of Syrians who fled the war in Syria. Gaziantep always had close family and business contacts with Syria, especially with Aleppo.