Racist Pogrom in Turkey

13 November 2006

According to information provided to the ERRC by Romani activists from Turkey, on 29 April 2006 in the central eastern Turkish city of Afyon, hundreds of angry non- Roma attacked a Romani family and burned several Romani homes. The incident followed the arrest and subsequent release, following a court hearing, of two Romani youths for the alleged abuse of female pupils in a local school. Following the court hearing, according to the activists, the school director confronted the youths in a nearby bazaar. According to local activists, the confrontation quickly turned to fighting in which local vendors became involved and which resulted in the burning of the Romani youths' car.

At this point, according to the information provided, the Romani youths fled from the bazaar and hurried home. The school director and the vendors followed the youths to their home and a crowd numbering in the hundreds reportedly gathered with them. The situation grew increasingly heated, with the gathered crowd threatening to burn the Romani youths and their family alive. At some point, the police arrived and tried to intervene but the crowd began to beat the Roma present. The family tried to hide in another house, but the crowd found them and set the house on fire. Again the police intervened and got the Roma away from the crowd, but the angry mob began hurling stones at them. At this point, several local officials tried to calm the crowd and bring the events under control, but several people set several Romani houses on fire. Following the pogrom, the two youths were again taken into police custody. As of 26 May no one had been arrested for the violent attack against the Romani family in Afyon. As of 13 September, no further information was available.



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