Turkish police detain 76 over attacks on Syrian refugees

Police in Turkey on Thursday detained 76 people in connection with attacks on homes and businesses believed to be owned by Syrians after a Turkish teenager was killed in a fight with a group of refugees from Syria.

A hundreds-strong mob took to the streets of the capital Ankara’s Altindag neighborhood late Wednesday, throwing stones at Syrian refugees’ homes, ransacking some shops and chanting anti-Syrian slogans, local media reports said.

The violence, which comes as sentiment against Syrian and Afghan refugees is running high, followed the stabbing death of 18-year-old Emirhan Yalcin in the same neighborhood earlier in the day.

Ankara police said 76 suspects were taken into custody on Thursday, suspected of either involvement in the attacks or of sharing provocative social media postings that allegedly helped stoke the violence. At least 38 of the suspects had prior criminal records, police said.

Turkey, which is grappling with a battered economy and high unemployment, is home to around 4 million mostly-Syrian refugees. There is public concern that the country may be faced with a fresh refugee influx from Afghanistan, where the Taliban have been making gains as U.S. and NATO troops withdraw.