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Truth behind rift rumors between Syrian refugees and Turkish people

Top Secret | 2017-07-09 02:45:35
Truth behind rift rumors between Syrian refugees and Turkish people

By Ethar Abdulhaq

(Zaman Al Wasl)- Difficult days ahead, sedition, causing unrest and strike, and circulating rumors are the main terms, among others, which Syrians are using to describe their situation and that of their 3 million co-nationals inside Turkey in recent days. The terms reflect Syrians’ fears of serious repercussions for their situation in the country that was and still is hosting the largest number of Syrians since the start of al-Assad’s campaign against the Syrian people. 

The talk and anxiety come a few days before the first anniversary of the attempted coup that took place on July 15, 2016. On that terrible night hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of Syrians held their breaths and waiting for dawn, news of that the coup failed and the government led by the Justice and Development Party secured the state institutions. Most Syrians, if not all of them, are aware that their situation would not be the same if a different government took power. 

The majority of Syrians recognize the gratitude they owe the Turkish government and people, and the majority of Turks understand the meaning of hospitality and “supporting the vulnerable.” In the midst of these two majorities are a small minority who are trying to make their voices the loudest. They take advantage of any negative incident to turn Syrians and Turks on each other and to show them as hateful and vengeful against each other.

Among a minority of Syrians you find those who insult Turks and their government, and among a minority of Turks, you have racists calling and demanding Syrians be expelled from Turkey. Between these two minorities is a majority that is trying hard to put out any sparks of strife and mobilization, rejecting the language of generalization and emphasizing the deep connections between Syrians to Turks. 

Zaman al-Wasl spoke to some Syrians to gain their perspectives on the situation in Turkey. Many of them commented that this attempt to cause strife and discord is driven by hidden hands on both sides. They insisted that on the Syrian side, there are people, with dubious moral and criminal records who are suspected of being connected to the Syrian regime intelligence apparatus, trying to create problems. On the Turkish side, there are public figures and parties whose orientation is announced and publicized in statements and programs, and who in summary oppose the Turkish government welcoming Syrians and demand that Syrians be deported to Syria.
The new in the efforts of these groups, is that this time, these groups are taking advantage of individual attacks committed by some Syrians, highlighting these incidents and magnify them on social media sites for the news to appear amplified tenfold. In the process, these groups fulfil role their in inciting problems and differences. 

In this context, the lawyer Maher Abbas warns of the magnitude and danger of what Syrians are currently facing in Turkey. He wished all Syrians to deal seriously with the situation with much seriousness, and avoid as much as possible contact with Turks, especially those trying to provoke them.

Zaman al-Wasl obtained a copy of recordings in which Abbas confirmed that a minority, perhaps a little over exceed one million Turks out of the population of 80 million, will seek to launch a campaign to distort the image of the Turkish government as a generous host of Syrians and to tarnish the image of Syrians as guests.

Abbas, who is interested in the case and is monitoring its developments, based his words on statements he received from his law professor (a member of the Turkish parliament). The law professor informed Abbas of the discussion during a meeting he added attended along with other parliamentarians, government officials and members of the Justice and Development Party.

The Spearhead 

Abbas said that his parliamentary teacher and the remainder of the meeting attendees delegated him to him the task of conveying their message to every Syrian living in Turkey. The message is that Turkey is today exposed to a major sedition at the level of the state and the ruling party. According to Abbas, a new coup is being prepared, and Syrians are being used as a card in this coming coup and are perhaps at the helm of the issue. Those preparing for the coup intend to provoke problems with them in conjunction with mobilizing the opposition in Turkey for these issues to become part of the same context and restore the atmosphere of the 2016 coup. 

Abbas revealed that in June alone, the Turkish authorities caught over 10 cells subordinate to the al-Assad regime intelligence operating in Turkey. 

Abbas presented several recommendations made by the Turkish officials, including that Syrians do not gather for any reason, ensure that they provoke no problems or friction with Turks. He added that Syrians should try to resolve these issues peacefully especially as there are Turks affiliated with opposition parties and even terrorist movements (PKK) whose mission will be to provoke Syrians and harass them.

According to Maher Abbas the incidents several Syrians have experienced in several cities in Turkey are most likely planned. He warned that pages on social media are witnessing incitement against Syrians and that these pages involve different media outlets. He cited one newspaper which published news claiming that Syrians have killed around 120 Turks, to provoke the greatest amount of hatred.

In his message, Abbas hoped that all Syrians would help the Turkish government face these campaigns of hatred and incitement, by committing to restraining themselves and fight the provocations especially as the Turkish government has enough concerns and problems and does not need new concerns about Syrians.

He mentioned that the Turkish police Ankara city is on high alert 24/7 in most of the city’s neighborhoods and that Syrian must appreciate this and stand with the Turkish state and its institutions.


A prominent activist, familiar with the conditions of the Syrians in Turkey, confirmed that there were manifestations of protest on Tuesday in Gaziantep city which hosts the largest number of Syrians. Speaking to Zaman al-Wasl, the activist explained that the protests came a day after clashes with Syrians and assaults on their property and breaking some of their properties in the capital Ankara. The activist pointed out that the Turkish police came out to contain the situation and calm protestors.

The activist who preferred to refer to his name with the letter ‘M’, revealed to Zaman al-Wasl that since the emergence of this latest campaign, he has been entering Syrian groups and pages on social media to publish calming and prudent comments. He explained that due to his actions, he has personally clashed with suspicious Syrians whose comments on different pages and groups held the same level of incitement against Turks. He said that it appeared as if these people were- indeed - employed exclusively for this task.

The activist pointed out his deep suspicions about these people and commented that he entered a page to follow the comments about the protest against the presence of Syrians in Gaziantep to found a person calling for attacks and violence against Turks. ‘M’ responded to the comments to highlight the danger of these comments, and the situation escalated with the person insulting the revolution and the activist. The person followed this by threatening ‘M’ that his account will be blocked. 

According to ‘M’, about one hour later, his account was blocked due to reports about him. He highlighted the person’s ability to mobilize so many people in such a short time to block M’s account is evidence that the person inciting violence is not an ordinary person but a member of a cell. ‘M’ highlight that the most dangerous thing is that the account the person got Facebook to block is a fictional account which does not reveal M’s real identity, and despite this, the person took no chances. ‘M’ wondered how the situation would have been if the person knew his real identity and his influential position in the Syrian opposition. 

No one doubts that the Syrian regime and its intelligence apparatus has from the first moment that a Syrian refugee landed on Turkish soil, tried to distort and demonize Turkey and its government, and denigrate every refugee. To that end, the Syrian regime used every tool at its disposal, overstepping all red lines, and even reach the point of targeting the honor of Syrian women in camps as further evidence of the regime’s degeneration. 

Every time Turkey experienced an internal or external problem, the regime hastened to exaggerate and benefit from the issue, portraying it as the end of the ruling Justice and Development Party and Erdogan personally. According to its familiar tune, the regime media takes any incident in Turkey as an attempt to convince Syrians living in Turkey that the fire of the regime is a heaven in comparison to what they have suffered in Turkey from exploitation and injustice.
The regime and its agents have benefited greatly from the climate of public freedoms in Turkey to market their stories. A regime television reporter even works freely in Turkey photographing and broadcasting pictures and interviews from Turkey to Syria.

In the spring of this year, millions of Syrians revolted against a person named Adib Abdel Fattah who was employed by the regime television as its correspondent in Turkey. He broadcasted a report from inside Turkey, where he hosted figures who oppose Erdogan. These figures claimed that Erdogan was behind the chemical massacre in Khan Shaykhoun where dozens of innocent civilians were killed, and it is well documented that the regime perpetrated the attack.

It appears the regime tried to replace Adib after his cover was blown, and so they hired his relative Saleh Abdel Fattah to take over the task assigned to Adib in the demonizing Turkey and showing it as a hell for its citizens and Syrians alike. The regime persists in trying to push the idea that there is nothing better than the homeland even if that means accepting al-Assad and his intelligence. 

For this purpose, Abdel Fattah broadcasted a report in which he collected footage of misery and poverty, and mixed these images with talk about the bitterness of Eid in Turkey in comparison to the sweetness of it in Syria.

Abdel Fattah, who conducted brief interviews for the report mostly with Syrian children, took advantage of those he interviewed by using a microphone with the banner of a famous television station on it. The microphone belonged to a relative of Abdel Fattah who used to work for that television station. This other relative is a well-known journalist who poses as an expert on Turkish affairs but is considered a regime support and one of its aids.

Abdel Fattah’s fraudulent activities appear in footage of the report as he not only avoided using the regime television microphone but also the footage from the report does not show the lower half of the microphone when Abdel Fattah was interviewing people. The absence comes in contrast to the final shot of the report when Abdel Fattah appears holding the regime television microphone. 

Not Fiction 

While we were in the midst of finishing this report, we carefully weighed every word to avoid being counted among the ranks of the ignorant of recent events concerning the Syrians in Turkey. During this time, the Turkish Ministry of Interior issued a transparent and clear statement to address the issues. The issue proved to us that what is threatening the three million Syrians living in Turkey is not a joke or fiction, but a serious issue that resulted in the Ministry of Interior alerting to it in a formal written statement.

In the statement issued on Wednesday, the Ministry of Interior considered that the actions of some Syrian guests against Syrians from their own country or against Turkish citizens are not incidents that can be overlooked since they are being distorted, exaggerated and they are being circulated in this way to provoke tension in the society.

The Interior Ministry pointed out that the manner in which some of the incidents are occurring is not compatible with the spirit of hospitality and the principles of the Ansars ( a reference to the supporters of the Prophet PBUH) which was raised by the government and adopted by Turkish society. The Ministry warned against exploiting these incidents to spread strife and discord for political purposes.

The statement added that some of the reports about the escalation in the number of crimes committed by Syrians in Turkey, do not align with the governmental statistics. The Ministry said that the numbers circulated distort reality as the number of Syrians committing crimes is minimal, barely 1.3% according to the figures covering the years 2014-2017. 

The Interior Ministry pointed out that most of the crimes committed by Syrians in Turkey were perpetrated against Syrians themselves and not Turkish citizens in contrast to what is being promoted. The Ministry explained in its statement that these the number of crimes committed by Syrians in Turkey decreased by 5% in the first half of 2017.
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