Turkish state employee slaps Syrian refugee in viral video

A Syrian refugee shepherd was violently slapped by Turkish state officials in Turkey’s southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, Al Arabiya reported on Tuesday.

The man, who identified himself as Ahmed Hilal, was tending to sheep in the Ceylanpınar district when security officers from the General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises (TİGEM) stopped him near an area they said he was not permitted to be in, the Saudi-owned news outlet said.

In a video shared by Al Arabiya, Hilal is seen responding in Arabic to questions by the government employees, one of whom grabs the refugee by the collar for not speaking in Turkish and violently slaps him twice across the face.

https://twitter.com/AlArabiya_Eng/status/1267602791767425024

The video, which circulated on social media, stirred anger among many Turkish users, the news outlet said.

“He thinks that whoever wears a uniform can use violence wherever he wants. Because he knows he's going to get away with it,” journalist Said Sefa tweeted.

https://twitter.com/sefa_said/status/1267269999128989696

“Enough of your racism and violence!” one Twitter user said. “Those who do not investigate these images are also responsible!”

https://twitter.com/hdkAdalet/status/1267560228343689217

“If the law does not do what is necessary against these clowns, the people of Ceylanpınar should,” another user said.

https://twitter.com/ssoceann/status/1267507562473312257

Turkey is part of a route for war refugees and economic migrants seeking security and a better life in Europe. According to government figures, Turkey hosts 4 million Syrian refugees who fled their conflict-torn country. The influx has created tensions among the Turkish population.

The viral video comes after nationwide anti-racism protests in the United States prompted a wide-reaching focus on racial discrimination.