Turkey to return ISIL members back to their countries: Interior minister

Turkey to return ISIL members back to their countries: Interior minister

Turkey to return ISIL members back to their countries: Interior minister

Foreign ISIL members being held by Turkey will be repatriated even if their citizenships have been revoked by their governments, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Nov. 4.

“We will send the members of Daesh to their countries regardless of whether or not they have been stripped off their citizenships,” Soylu told reporters on Monday using the Arabic acronym of the ISIL group.

“Those in the prisons are all foreign terrorist fighters, and there are also foreign terrorist fighters in the repatriation centers,” he stated.

There are some 1,200 foreign ISIL members being held in Turkish prisons, along with 287 relatives - some of whom are women and children – who were caught during Operation Peace Spring, Soylu said.

The minister said that work is being done to resolve issues with the prisoners. Some of the ISIL members entered Turkey in various periods and were caught, he said.

When caught, they are taken to the judicial authorities, and then either go to prisons or repatriation centers, and Turkey periodically returns them to their home countries, Soylu noted.

Some countries have stripped ISIL members of their citizenships and resisted their repatriation, Soylu said, adding that this attitude creates new problems in international law.

Countries that fail to deal humanely with immigrants and refugees now create legal problems by “resisting taking back terrorists who came from their soil,” he said.

“However, the world has devised a new method. They say, ‘Let’s strip them of their citizenship... Let them be tried where they are’,” he said.

“It is impossible for us to accept this view... We will send Daesh [ISIL] members to their countries whether or not their nationalities have been revoked,” Soylu added.

“In other words, countries, unfortunately, that act in a way not complying with the 21st century, with the refugee and asylum seeker issue, are now introducing a new case law on terrorism. It is not possible to accept the case-law,” he emphasized.

On Nov. 2, Soylu said EU countries, including the Netherlands and Britain, had stripped some of the fighters of their nationalities to prevent Ankara from sending them home.

The Turkish government regularly calls on European countries to repatriate their nationals belonging to ISIL, but many governments are dragging their feet, fearing a public backlash and security problems.