Turkish intel officials in Iraq to participate in questioning of ISIL militants’ Turkish wives
Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
Jihadists apprehended during operations in the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tal Afar are currently kept in jails, but their wives and children have been placed in camps controlled by the United Nations.
Mosul and Tal Afar were recently liberated from ISIL in operations backed by the U.S., bringing the fate of the women and children who traveled to Iraq with the jihadist militants to come under the limelight after the operations, with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announcing on Sept. 16 that half of them were Turkish.
It was previously revealed that many Turkish women had lost their jihadist husbands in clashes in addition to the children who lost their fathers in the camp.
On Sept. 17, a total of 500 Turkish citizens were transferred by the Iraqi army to a camp near Tel Kaif from a U.N.-controlled camp in order to be questioned. According to information obtained by daily Hürriyet, 150 of those Turks are women, while the remaining ones are children.
During the interrogations, Iraqi authorities have been asking the women their positions in ISIL, when and how they joined the jihadists and their links with the group.
Turkey has been following the interrogation process closely and units from the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) are currently in the camp to participate in the interrogations.
In the interrogations, the identities of the women are trying to be determined based on their testimonies and Iraqi authorities have been sharing information they obtained with Turkey in order to match and confirm their statements.
According to the sources, some women in the camp introduced themselves as Turkish citizens when they actually are not.
The extradition process of the Turkish women and children, who were determined to not have participated in any armed act, is set to start on the weekend. They will also be questioned in Turkey.
In addition to MİT, police’s intelligence and anti-terror units have been carrying out “risk analyses” regarding the Turkish women and children in the camp.
Turkish authorities will investigate how they joined ISIL, how they crossed into Iraq, whether they were involved in clashes, whether they belong to the armed branch of the jihadist group and if they received any weapons and explosives training.
A message had been sent to the families of those searching for their relatives among the women and children by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, saying that “necessary initiatives are being taken for their transfers.”
“Necessary initiatives are being taken by our embassy in Baghdad and the Arbil Consul General in the presence of Iraqi authorities for the women and children to be transferred to Turkey,” the message read.