A fast-food shop owner of Turkish decent has spoken of his shock after his shop in Weymouth, south-west England, was defaced with a Swastika last month.
Hidden Gem Kebab House in Littlemoor Shopping Centre, was targeted in broad daylight in what police believe to be a racially aggravated attack.
Gem Ciftlik, 41, said: “It happened in the middle of the day just before we were due to open. I was in the back of the store at the time. It is just so upsetting. It has affected me morally and has really affected my business. People don’t want to come to the shop with that outside the front.”
A 47-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of racially/religiously aggravated criminal damage and is currently helping police with their enquiries.
Ciftlik moved to England as a student 16 years ago and has lived in Weymouth for the past eight years.
This is not the first time he has experienced an allegedly racially-motivated incident in the area.
He added: “We had a kebab shop in Weymouth town centre for three years and I was racially attacked every other day. I gave up that business and moved to Littlemoor because of that.”
Ciftlik was previously the victim of a violent attack when he ran a takeaway in Bradford upon Avon, Wiltshire, in 2007, leaving him with a broken nose and broken eye sockets.
Cliftik said he no longer feels safe in the area and fears his children will be targeted on the street.
His wife Victoria Ciftlik, 29, originally from Somerset, said: “I’m really worried. We started over, we have only been open three months and this is the second alleged incident in that time.
“I often have to go to the store and work until 5am so I can face the customers whilst he works with his back turned, and we have a six-week old baby at home.”
Police were called immediately after the incident and were able to view footage from the Hidden Gem Kebab House’s eight CCTV cameras.