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Turkey starts deporting jihadists


ANKARA: Turkey deported three foreign jihadists on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), with more than 20 Europeans, including French and Germans in the process of being expelled to their countries of origin.

Turkey has criticized Western countries for refusing to repatriate their citizens who left to join the Islamic State group (IS) in Syria and Iraq, and stripping some of them of their citizenship.

Its Interior Ministry said it deported an American and a Dane on Monday, while Germany confirmed that one of its citizens had also been expelled.

Edirne, Turkey: A man (C), allegedly an US citizen and a member of the Islamic State group (IS), who was deported by Turkish officials and rejected by Greek police, standing in a no man’s land at the border between Turkey and Greece near Pazarkule, is seen from the Turkish side in Edirne, on November 11, 2019. Turkey deported three foreign jihadists on November 11, 2019, with more than 20 Europeans including French and Germans in the process of being expelled to their countries of origin. AFP PHOTO

But there was confusion over the fate of the US citizen, with Greece saying that Turkey had attempted to deport him over their shared land border.

Greek police said they rejected the man and sent him back to Turkey. Images showed him temporarily trapped between the two borders early Monday.

A State Department official said that US authorities “are aware of reports of the detainment of a US citizen by Turkish authorities,” but could not comment further because of privacy rules.

Turkey said seven more Germans would be deported on Thursday, while 11 French citizens, two Irish and at least two additional Germans were also being processed.

Danish authorities said their citizen was arrested upon arrival in Copenhagen on Monday, adding that he had previously been sentenced to four years in prison in Turkey.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that Turkey had nearly 1,200 foreign members of IS in custody, and had captured 287 during its recent operation in northern Syria.

It was not clear whether those being deported were captured in Syria or Turkey.

“There is no need to try to escape from it, we will send them back to you. Deal with them how you want,” Soylu said on Friday.

A French official told Agence France-Presse that the French nationals being expelled were mostly women.

Some had been in Turkey for a long time, while others arrived recently, the official added, without giving further details.

These 11 will be tried, the official said, adding that discussions were under way to determine whether their arrival will be handled by civil or military airport authorities.


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