Turkey Vows to Return Foreign-born ISIS Terrorists by Year’s End
Turkey has vowed to repatriate hundreds of foreign-born Islamic State terrorists by the end of the year, setting up a possible confrontation between Ankara and European capitals. Turkey’s interior minister has confirmed the plan, revealing that some 287 ISIS members have been detained since the Turkish military last month launched an incursion into northeastern Syria. This is in addition to thousands of other ISIS recruits currently being held in makeshift prisons in the war-torn country. Turkey has repeatedly clashed with the likes of Germany, France and Britain over their hesitance to repatriate citizens who traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS. For their part, the Europeans have drawn up a proposal to transfer foreign fighters jailed in Syria to Iraq, where they would face trial. The United States has also called on Europe to repatriate those of its citizens who joined ISIS, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week asserting that “[anti-Islamic State] coalition members must take back the thousands of foreign terrorist fighters in custody and impose accountability for the atrocities they have perpetrated.” He warned that failure to do so could result in ISIS detainees breaking out of jails and reconstituting a formidable terrorist presence in Syria. European states have long expressed concern that repatriating so many extremists could result in the spread of radical Islamic ideology and lead to attacks throughout the continent.