The administration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned its European NATO allies that it is set to send thousands of Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists who were captured in Syria back to their countries of origin.
“We are not going to keep them until the end of time,” Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters. “We’re not a hotel for Daesh.”
Some observers said that Turkey created the problem in the first place by allowing jihadists who wanted to join ISIS to travel through Turkey to Syria.
An April 2018 article published by Foreign Policy stated that, in 2013 alone, some 30,000 militants traversed Turkish soil, establishing the so-called jihadi highway, as the country became a conduit for fighters seeking to join ISIS.
“Furthermore,” says Wikipedia, “it was claimed that wounded Islamic State militants were treated for free at hospitals across southeastern Turkey. Among those receiving care was one of the top deputies of Islamic State chieftain Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Ahmet el-H, who was treated in a private hospital in Sanliurfa in August 2014.”
Some European nations have signaled they are not willing to take the terrorists. Great Britain and the Netherlands have stripped known jihadists of their citizenship.
“They found an easy solution,” Soylu said. “They say ‘I took his nationality away, it’s your problem now’. That’s unacceptable in our view, that’s totally irresponsible. What do you want me to do with your terrorist?”
In 2018, two ISIS jihadists who were part of an execution team dubbed “the Beatles” complained that the UK was too harsh when it stripped of them of their British citizenship.
U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh last January in eastern Syria.
They argued that press stories about “the Beatles” were fabricated and used as a pretext to have them killed – as “Jihadi John” was in a drone strike. “No fair trial, when I am ‘the Beatle’ in the media. No fair trial,” Elsheikh said.
The British government’s decision in February to strip them of citizenship was “illegal,” exposing them to “rendition and torture,” Elsheikh said.
Wikipedia also noted that “Turkey faced one of the highest number of ISIL (ISIS) attacks among European countries,” and that “Turkey claims to have been the first country which designated ISIL as a terrorist organization.”
Turkey’s 1st Criminal Court of Peace ordered a ban on Wikipedia after the site posted that “Turkey has faced numerous allegations of collaboration with and support for ISIL (ISIS) in international media.”