Turkey Intensifies Crackdown on Business Owners From Somalia

Somali business owner in Turkey
Mohamed Isse Abdullahi outside the Somali cafe he co-owns in Ankara's Kizilay, on 20 October 2021 (MEE/Ragip Soylu)

ANKARA (Somaliguardian) – Turkey has begun handing deportation orders to Somali business owners in the capital Ankara in a massive crackdown said to be driven by Xenophobia, years after opening its doors to investors from the Horn of Africa nation, a key trade partner of Ankara.

Somalis have established restaurants, cafes, clothing stores and consultancy firms in Kizilay Square in Ankara, turning the decaying area into a vibrant business hub.

The booming business hub run by the Somali community has turned the host nation of Turkey against them, where anti-immigrant sentiments have been on the rise in recent months. A local newspaper Soscu daily, featured this in an anti-immigrnat report and brought it to the radar, according to the Middle East Eye.

We learned that all of us, who had residence permits and legally owned businesses here in Turkey, were going to be deported,” Mohamed Isse Abdullahi, Somali cafe owner told MEE.

Following the newspaper’s article, plain-clothed police officers have begun frequent visits to Somali-owned businesses in the area, harassing customers, according to locals. They detained and handed deportation orders to a number of Somali business owners in Ankara, that has forced many to sell their businesses or shut them down, MEE reported.

Somalis in Turkey are well-educated people and have come to the country through legal means, with almost of all them having residence permits and licenses for the businesses in which they have invested.

One of the businesspoeple mistreated by police told MEE that police visits were part of a harrassment campaign by local authorities, due to the employment of unauthorized workers which could result in monetary fines. Police arrested a group of Somali and has taken them to the police headquarters in Ankara where they have been held for 48 hours without any explanation.

Abdullahi, who was among the group, said he and eight others, including two women were taken to a deportation center where they learned that the city’s immigration authorities had been processing deportation against them, according to MEE.

The incident forced many Somali business owners to quickly sell off their properties, that has passed a number of businesses to the hands of Turkish citizens. But many have not been so lucky to find buyers and have shut down their businesses to leave Turkey, with their deportation deadline looming.

Source: Middle East Eye

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