Turkey forms a working group to deal with ISIL-related issues

Turkey forms a working group to deal with ISIL-related issues

Almost all countries that are strongly opposed to Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria express concerns that the move can weaken the ongoing fight against ISIL and thus may lead to the resurrection of the jihadist terrorist network.

As these nations have predicted, the YPG has announced that it stopped its struggle against ISIL in southern Syria in order to reinforce their positions along the borderline from where the Turkish operation was launched.

Besides, the YPG also signals that it may no longer control the facilities in which around more than 1,000 ISIL captives are being held as well as the camps that host tens of thousands of family members of the jihadist terrorists.

Currently, they still have an eye on these facilities, but it’s still a risk for everyone that these captives can break out of prisons. In the area where the Turkish army is operating, it’s believed that there are a few detention facilities where around slightly more than 1,000 ISIL detainees are being held. Turkey has made clear that it will resume responsibility for those held only within the safe zone it will create.

All these concerns conveyed by the foreign powers are being well heard in the Turkish capital. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in his frequent interviews, seeks to respond to these concerns by providing assurances that the Turkish government is working on this multidimensional problem.

He said a working group with the participation of officials from the foreign, justice, interior and defense ministries as well as intelligence has been formed to take care of this problem.

“If there are Turkish nationals among those detainees, we will, of course, bring them back. We will take steps for the repatriation of other nationals. We will keep them there (in northeastern Syria) if they are not accepted (by their origin countries),” Çavuşoğlu said in an interview with the Turkish section of Deutsche Welle over the weekend.

He also vowed that all the possible measures will be taken for the prosecution of these ISIL members and assured that the release of these terrorists is out of the question.

The Foreign Ministry will likely launch a new diplomatic effort for the repatriation of ISIL members after the Turkish troops gain control of the detention facilities and the intelligence has prepared a detailed list of detainees.

Turkey has developed effective cooperation mechanisms with many European countries on a bilateral level and with the European Union on how to deal with foreign fighters. It hopes to re-activate these mechanisms as it regards the repatriation of these terrorists constitutes the best venue for resolving this problem.

That’s why a written statement by the foreign minister has underlined this very aspect: “It should be acknowledged that the sustainable solution to this issue is repatriation, prosecution and rehabilitation by countries of origin of all foreign terrorist fighters and their families detained in Syria. We attach utmost importance to the joint efforts of the international community in this regard. Turkey will continue to support in every possible way the international community’s efforts to this end.”

In the meantime, the Justice Ministry will study whether these terrorists could be prosecuted in Turkey or Syria and, if so, how it could be carried out under due process of law. This process would surely require international assistance and cooperation.

The Turkish government expresses its firm commitment that it will not abandon the fight against ISIL as the country that had fought against radical terrorists during the Operation Euphrates Shield between August 2016 and April 2017.