Turkey vows to return IS suspects to Europe | News | DW | 02.11.2019
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Turkey vows to return IS suspects to Europe

Turkey has said it will return "Islamic State" prisoners to their own countries, after several European nations refused to take back terror suspects. Ankara said it would not be a "hotel" for foreign militants.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Saturday said Ankara would repatriate European "Islamic State" (IS) suspects, criticizing certain nations for revoking militants' citizenships.

Turkey has captured some escaped IS fighters in northeastern Syria in the past month after launching an incursion against Kurdish forces in the region.

Read more: Turkey, Russia start joint patrols in northern Syria

While he did not give an indication of how many prisoners were being detained, the minister said they represented an unacceptable burden.

"We are not a hotel for anyone's Daesh members," Soylu said, using a pejorative Arab name for the Islamist militant group.

Soylu said Turkey has British and Dutch suspects in custody, as well as those from other countries. He said the revocation of citizenship in the case of individuals deemed to have dual nationality — as practiced by the UK and Netherlands — was taking "the easy way" out.

Read more: Berlin ready to fetch IS German children after court case

Soylu used the example of a detained fighter who had been made stateless. "Let's say I keep him in jail for a while. Then he is released from jail. Should I give your terrorist citizenship?"

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Several European countries have refused to repatriate IS fighters and their wives and widows being held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces (SDF).

The SDF, which spearheaded the ground fight against IS with backing from the US, is believed to be holding some 10,000 militants. However, since Turkey launched a military operation against it in Syria, the SDF has said it can no longer prioritize the incarceration of jihadis.

The Turkish incursion came after US President Donald Trump withdrew some 1,000 troops from northern Syria who had been working alongside the SDF.

rc/tj (Reuters, dpa)

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