Ankara against Europe-YPG dialogue on terrorist fighters issue

Ankara against Europe-YPG dialogue on terrorist fighters issue

To put it bluntly, European countries do not want to take back hundreds of their nationals who remain captured as ISIL members in northern Syria. 

No one has said it as openly as Michael Aastrup Jensen, the foreign affairs spokesman for Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen’s center-right Liberals. “These are some of the most dangerous people on Earth, and we should not have them back.” This statement came following U.S. President Donald Trump’s call on European countries to take back ISIL members caught by the YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed PKK.

But Jensen went one step further and criticized Trump for this “tremendous ordeal” his beloved country is facing. “The fact that we are in this jam is Trump’s fault since he chose to pull U.S. forces out of Syria before stability was created.”

Thank God he did not say it is Trump’s fault since he chose to pull the U.S. forces out of Syria before “U.S. and French special forces executed those damn terrorists.”

Obviously there is a limit to avoiding political correctness just as there is a limit to opt for non-legal options, like closing doors to your citizens.

European governments don’t want them back, because they do not know what to do with them. Apart from being a member of a terror organization (which in the European justice system is not enough to keep one for years in prison), it is difficult to charge them with specific accusations. Letting them free (knowing how they have excelled in making and throwing bombs) is understandably not a preferred option.

For some time it has been easy for countries like the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Belgium to avoid the issue by blaming the lack of a “legitimate interlocutor.”

In other words, most of these countries say they cannot take action because their diplomatic missions in Syria remain closed.

Following Trump’s call, they might feel forced to take action. The YPG has been trying for some time to get in touch with European capitals to enable the return of those they keep under their captivity.

But at that point European capitals bump into Ankara’s veto. The Turkish government is telling European capitals not to take the YPG as the interlocutor, even if it is to enable the return of terrorists. At the end of the day Ankara considers the YPG as terrorist.

This issue has added to the dozens of other problems that prevent Turkey and the U.S. from being on the same page in the Syrian quagmire.

One way to handle the issue is to seek the help of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and it seems some of the capitals are working on that formula.

At any rate what we are talking about is not just terrorists, but their families, especially the children who should be provided a better future. Unfortunately it took a court decision for Belgium to recently repatriate two children whose mother is serving a jail sentence in Turkey. The situation in Syria might be complicated, but European capitals should not drag their feet for at least the children that are in Turkey or Iraq.

Turkey, anti-terrorism, Diplomacy