Turkey starts deportation of foreign IS fighters


Mr Catakli said proceedings were under way to deport 11 French citizens captured in Syria.

Ankara had earlier criticized European countries for being reluctant to take back their nationals who have been fighting for an IS "caliphate" in Syria and Iraq.

USA officials have repeatedly said that it's possible Turkish-backed fighters in Syria carried out possible war crimes as part of Ankara's incursion aimed at targeting America's Kurdish partners in the fight against ISIS.

Turkey said Monday it had begun sending back foreign jihadists to their countries of origin, with an American already expelled and more than 20 Europeans in the process of deportation.

Erdogan warned European Union countries: "You should revise your stance toward Turkey, which holds so many IS members in prison and controls them in Syria".

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks during a news conference for foreign media correspondents in Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2019.

Greek police said in a statement that Turkish authorities had first tried to deport a United States citizen of Arab origin on October 11 on grounds that he had exceeded his legal stay in Turkey. It was not clear if he was the American referred to by the interior ministry. A spokesman said he did not know whether any were Islamic State fighters, but did not contest their citizenship.

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The decision to make good on that threat sooner than expected signals "a measure of nervousness in Ankara" regarding its frustrated ambitions in the Syrian conflict, said former ambassador Pierini, now a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Europe thinktank.

"They will be deported on November 14". Meanwhile, a Dutch court ruled on Monday that the Netherlands should repatriate the children of women who joined IS, though the mothers themselves need not be brought back.

US President Donald Trump will welcome his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Wednesday as part of a move aimed at improving relations between the two countries.

The YPG is the main element of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which has been a leading United States ally in beating back ISIS in the region, and has kept thousands of extremists in jails across northeastern Syria. Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist group.

When Turkey's allies warned its invasion could compromise the security of those camps and aid the revival of IS, Ankara said it would take responsibility for IS prisoners found during the offensive. It has also accused the YPG of vacating some Islamic State jails.

A State Department official said that U.S. authorities "are aware of reports of the detainment of a USA citizen by Turkish authorities" but could not comment further because of privacy rules.

In Berlin, German foreign ministry spokesman Christofer Burger said Turkey told Germany about its plan to deport one person on Monday, seven on Thursday and two more German nationals on Friday.