Europe's share in repatriation process of Daesh members

AMIN BAGHERI
Published 05.12.2019 00:44

One of the strangest and most brutal terrorist groups in contemporary history that killed thousands of innocent men and women and caused damages worth billions of dollars in regional countries, especially in Syria and Iraq, was the Daesh terrorist group. In fact, no group has endangered the security of a region as much as Daesh. With the recent arrest and killing of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in late October, the terrorist group appears to have lost its stability and meaning. Consequently, the issue of the return of Daesh terrorists to their countries has begun. In addition to security and political sensitivities, this issue has special legal implications. Turkey too has to get rid of Daesh members as soon as possible.

The deportation process

In a symbolic move, just two days before President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Washington last month, Turkish officials deported a U.S.-based Daesh inmate. They also reported that eight German Daesh citizens and one Danish citizen were deported from Turkey.

According to Turkish officials, Turkish troops were able to arrest 287 fleeing Daesh terrorists during Operation Peace Springs in northern Syria and the east of the Euphrates. Now returning these Daesh members to their countries of origin in Turkey has become a sensitive security and political-legal project.

A big risk for Turkey

In the face of extreme terrorism and a vicious terrorist group in Daesh, the Americans turned to a strange scenario once again, and Osama bin Laden's film was repeated for al-Baghdadi. But the United States did not do anything special in the face of irresponsible Daesh members fleeing Syria, and, in the meantime, Turkey agreed to take a risky decision and strategy.

President Erdoğan received a green light from U.S. President Donald Trump for Operation Peace Spring and the attack on the PKK terrorist group's satellite institutions in northern Syria, namely the People's Protection Units (YPG). Also, a meeting between Erdoğan-Trump paved the way to discuss the Daesh issue. Thereafter Ankara decided to return Daesh prisoners to their home countries after the United States explicitly agreed to the decision, on the other hand, Europe is not happy with Turkey's decision and believes that European Daesh terrorists should be punished in the areas where they have committed their crimes. Clearly, European countries are trying to refuse taking back their citizens. Nevertheless, despite the U.S. agreement, Turkey will work hard to send Daesh prisoners back to their countries and Europe will try to use the Middle East for its own benefit and refuse entry of its Daesh terrorist citizens.

What is Europe's reaction?

The EU has so far shown that it has a particular attitude on security when it comes to extremism and terrorism. In other words, the EU has taken temporary military action alongside the United States against Daesh, but it has never been able to achieve a concerted strategy.

It has been reported many times that Daesh criminals reached Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi soils from 81 countries around the world. And, now, it is naturally feared that the return of these Daesh members to their home countries are likely to create new problems as well. For this reason, European countries, especially the United Kingdom, have tried to abolish their right to citizenship.

But Turkish officials have stated that Turkey is not a Daesh hotel and they will be returned to their countries. European countries have taken irresponsible and irresponsible approaches to the issue of European Daesh members in recent years.

European countries have faced strong criticism for their failure to take responsibility for their citizens, the prohibition of Daesh members entry into their mother countries, the transfer of Daesh children to their hometowns, the lack of trials of Daesh's European members in international courts, their treatment as a security threat, the frequent change in the statuses of female Daesh members seeking to return to their home countries, efforts to prosecute European Daesh members in their countries of activity, the revoking of Daesh militants' citizenships and the lackluster strengthening of the international coalition's so-called U.S.-led fight against Daesh in Syria.

In general, with the news of the killing of al-Baghdadi and the weakening of power of the terrorist group, the group has lost some of its terrorist identity in the region. Certainly, such a situation is the best time to punish members of this terrorist group and expel any of them from the Middle East.

Taking this into account on one hand and getting rid of a large number of prisoners, on the other hand, Turkey has taken the appropriate approach. In other words, the Turkish government, which is the initiator of this plan, should be supported, and in the current situation, the U.S., Europe and the countries of the region, which consider themselves human rights supporters and opposed to any terrorist group, should support the Middle East in some way by punishing and expelling members of the terrorist group.

Otherwise, without punishment and the return of the members of this terrorist group to their countries, the Daesh issue will not be completely eliminated, and the possibility of the terrorist group reuniting or joining other terrorist groups such as the PKK will survive.

* Fellow at the Iranian International Studies Association in Tehran. His research focuses on Iran and the Middle East

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