Limitations on Arabic signs reflects broader hostility toward Syrian refugees - The Arab Weekly

Restrictions on Arabic signs reveals resentment toward Syrian refugees in Turkey, the Arab Weekly said on Saturday.

Turkish authorities have stepped up efforts in order to ensure conformity to the rule that 75 percent of signs should be in Turkish. 

Turkey is home to more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees who fled the civil war that has engulfed their country since 2011 and many Turks accuse Syrian refugees of changing the character of the city by importing Arabic, evident in the increasing number of signs belonging to Syrian businesses.

"Syrian business owners could lose a large percentage of their customers if they cannot advertise in Arabic because they often cater to Arabic-speaking tourists or fellow Syrians who do not speak Turkish," the Arab Weekly said.

The move against Arabic shop signs was incomplete since there are English signs "everywhere",  the Arab Weekly quoted Ekrem Erdem, president of the Language and Literature Association Turkey, as saying.

Meanwhile, Ertuğrul Kürkçü, honorary president of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was exploiting the impasse of Syrian refugees to amass political support. 

Ankara’s incompetency to implement a sound refugee policy has increased prejudice toward refugees.

"Syrians have been the victims of Ankara’s failed refugee policy. Now they are again left to pay the price for it,” the Arab Weekly quoted journalist Tamer Yazar as saying.