Turkey deports 7 Syrians over banana-eating images on social media

Turkey is deporting at least seven Syrians for "provocatively" sharing photos of themselves eating bananas on social media after a Turkish citizen complained that he cannot afford bananas while the refugees can.

"You're living more comfortably. I can't eat banana, you are buying kilograms of banana," said a Turkish man as he chided a female Syrian student in an Oct 17 video taken in Istanbul.

A Turkish woman joined in, accusing the Syrians of enjoying lavish lifestyles in Turkey rather than going back home to fight, dismissing the student's explanation that she has nowhere left to return to.

The comparison stems mostly from the social media rumors and speeches of nationalist politicians that claim Syrians live comfortably on government aid whereas Turkish nationals suffer from the economic crisis and unemployment. 

Following the street interview, Syrians started sharing videos of themselves eating bananas on TikTok, while also using the voice recording of the interview. 

Turkey's Directorate General of Migration said on Wednesday, Oct. 27 that they would deport seven Syrians who shared "provocative" videos of themselves eating bananas in reference to a street interview where a citizen was heard comparing the financial wellbeing of Syrians with Turks. 

"Seven foreign nationals have been rounded up in a probe over the provocative social media posts and they will be processed for deportation," Turkey's migration authority said in a statement late on Wednesday Oct 27.

Turkey hosts the world's largest refugee population as an economic decline makes what few jobs there are harder to come by. At the same time, those with jobs have seen their spending power weaken, fanning discontent over the government's refugee policy.

Some four million Syrians who fled their country's civil war have for the most part lived peacefully side by side with Turks for several years.

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