Ankara repatriated 150 foreign fighters since November 11

Ankara repatriated 150 foreign fighters since November 11

Ankara repatriated 150 foreign fighters since November 11

Turkish authorities have repatriated 150 foreign fighters detained over links to militant groups since Ankara launched a program to send back detainees on Nov. 11, Interior Ministry spokesman İsmail Çataklı said on Jan. 3.

The number of Syrian refugees returned their homeland is 373.592, Çataklı also said noting that the total figure for Syrians taking shelter in Turkey is 3,571,030.

Turkey, which is holding hundreds of ISIL suspects, begun the process of repatriating the detainees despite calls from some European nations that the suspects should be tried where they committed crimes.

Turkey deported three foreign terrorist fighters to Switzerland, the Turkish Interior Ministry said in a statement on Jan. 2. The Swiss nationals were sent back to their country of origin as part of Turkey’s ramped-up efforts to repatriate foreign terrorist fighters, it added.

Turkey continues to deport foreign terrorist fighters, the statement added.

The issue of the handling of ISIL members and their families detained in Syria -- including foreign members of the terror group -- has been controversial, with Turkey arguing foreign-born terrorists should be returned to their countries of origin.

Ankara has said several European countries resisted its efforts to send ISIL members back to their countries, but that it will nevertheless press forward. Turkey has so far deported 7,500 ISIL members, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in early December, adding that there are currently 1,149 ISIL terrorists in Turkish prisons.