ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s Interior Ministry said on Tuesday that it had sent back five “foreign terrorists” to Germany, believed to be alleged members of the so-called Islamic State, as a campaign to repatriate foreign nationals in its custody continues.
“Extradition of foreign terrorist fighters to their countries continues,” a statement from the ministry read.
Turkey began to repatriate foreign Islamic State members in its detention in early November, starting with a US national.
The identity of most of the suspects has not been revealed.
In November, Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu warned that Ankara would return foreign Islamic State detainees to their native countries, even if their citizenship had been revoked.
According to Soylu, Turkey currently has around 1,200 foreign Islamic State members in its prisons, including relatives of the suspects.
“We are not a hotel” for any country’s Islamic State members, he said at the time.
Many nations in the European Union fear that due to a lack of evidence of criminal wrongdoing, Islamic State supporters could be quickly released once they appear in court after returning home.
On Nov. 19, Soylu reiterated Turkey’s stance and said Ankara would return “a large part” of the foreign fighters to their home countries by the end of the year.
“They do not have the right to leave their citizens without a nationality. They have no such right,” the interior minister said, referring to European nations who have stripped their nationals of citizenship for joining the Islamic State.
“This is why we held evaluations with certain countries on this, and they are taking them back.”