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Turkey to begin deporting Islamic State fighters next week

Turkey has said it will even deport stateless IS members [AFP]

Date of publication: 8 November, 2019

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Turkey will move to deport all foreign IS fighters in its custody - including those stripped of their citizenship - to their countries of origin, the interior minister said.
Turkey will start to deport captured Islamic State group fighters to their home countries as of Monday, 11 November, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Friday.

"We are telling them: 'We'll repatriate these people to you', and we are starting as of Monday," Turkey's state news agency Anadolu quoted Soylu as saying.

Ankara has long chided European countries for refusing to repatriate suspected IS members who are their citizens and on Monday warned that it would send captured militants back to their countries of origin even if their citizenships have been revoked.

Although under the New York Convention of 1961, it is illegal to leave someone stateless, several countries, including the UK and France, have not ratified it.

The UK alone has stripped more than 100 people of their citizenship for allegedly joining extremist groups abroad.

High profile cases such as teen IS recruit Shamima Begum and Jack Letts have sparked court proceedings and fierce political debate.

Earlier this week, the Turkish interior minister stated that Ankara had almost 1,200 foreign members of IS in custody, 287 of whom had been captured during its recent operation in northeastern Syria.

The UK and Belgium, however, have reiterated their desire not to repatriate suspected IS members.

Such individuals should instead face prosecution in Iraq or Syria, the countries where their alleged crimes were commited, the UK Home Office and Belgian Foreign Ministry told Euronews this week.

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