An employee working at an Istanbul branch of the McDonald's fast-food chain poured boiling water on a child for "disturbing customers," with the incident making headlines after a brawl ensued between the customers and the employee.
The shocking episode took place Tuesday at a McDonald's located in Istanbul's upscale Nişantaşı neighborhood. According to claims, a female employee poured a cup of boiling water onto the child for disturbing customers on the restaurant's upper floor. After witnessing the incident, a male customer physically intervened, while other customers reported the act to the police.
Police arrived on the scene and took the child to a nearby police station and then to the Şişli Hamidiye Etfal Hospital to treat the burns on his neck. The employee and the customer who intervened were also taken to the station to offer testimonies.
The child remained fearful and in shock following his treatment.
The restaurant manager and employees initially declined to comment. However, McDonald's Turkey later confirmed the incident to Turkish media outlets, stating that the employee's contract was terminated and that an investigation had been launched.
The child was initially reported to be Syrian, but it was later revealed that he was Turkish citizen Polat Kara. The boy's parents told reporters that they worked as junk collectors and while on the street, sent the boy to buy a bottle of water from the restaurant.
The restaurant employee identified as Mutlu H. was questioned by police Wednesday and later freed when the boy's parents did not file a complaint. Mutlu H. told the police she was actually trying to make other children in the restaurant "disturbing the patrons" leave and she "accidentally poured the water" on Kara.
A similar incident involving a fast food chain similarly prompted public outrage in January 2015, when the manager of an Istanbul branch of a Burger King physically assaulted a Syrian boy for eating leftover French fries discarded on trays at the restaurant.
Additionally, in July 2015, a restaurant manager in the western province of İzmir was caught on camera beating a Syrian boy trying to sell tissues.
McDonald's' maltreatment of children "disturbing customers" is nothing new. The fast food chain had made headlines in 2000 when a girl selling tissues at a McDonald's restaurant in Istanbul was locked in the freezer by the restaurant's manager for "disturbing the customers."
The manager was detained while the girl was rescued from certain death by eyewitnesses.