A group attacks foreigners’ shops in Turkey’s Adana over sexual assault rumours

A group of people on Thursday night attacked shops of foreign nationals in the Seyhan district of the southern province of Adana, after rumours that an 11-year old boy was sexually harassed by a Syrian man, Diken news site reported.

The people around noticed the sexual assault when the boy screamed for help, Diken said citing Demirören News Agency. They then tried to catch the suspect and set ablaze a house they thought the suspect was living.

While the suspect ran away, a group believing that the suspect was a Syrian started breaking the windows of some shops run by Syrians in two neighbourhoods. The group also burnt the stuff inside the shops. The police blocked entry and exit to those neighbourhoods to stop the events. 

The Adana Governor’s Office said in a statement on Friday that the suspect was believed to be a Turkish national, 20-year old man who spoke Turkish fluently. The authorities called on the residents of Adana to help security forces in their efforts to catch the suspect. 

The racist attacks against Syrian refugees in Turkey have intensely accelerated recently, according to several rights groups. 

Last year, Turkish residents of the Kale district of the western province of Denizli attacked the Syrians living in the neighbourhood after police detained six Syrians over sexual abuse charges. And, on June 30, a group attacked Syrians and looted Syrian workplaces in Istanbul's Küçükçekmece district, one of the refugee settlements of the city, on rumours saying some Syrian refugees were taken into custody for assaulting a Turkish child.