Turkey enforces travel ban on 26,600 foreign fighters

Published 22.11.2015 22:29

Turkey has banned more than 26,600 suspected foreign fighters from entering the country, preventing them from heading to Syria or Iraq, as of November 2015, a high level source from the Interior Ministry told Daily Sabah.

It was reported earlier last week that police detained eight suspected members of DAESH who were planning to sneak into Europe posing as refugees. Last Saturday counterterror police arrested a Belgian man of Moroccan origin, Ahmet Dahmani, at a luxury hotel in the southern coastal city of Antalya on suspicion that he scouted target sites for the attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

Meanwhile a high level source from the Interior Ministry told Daily Sabah that Turkey introduced a no-entry list as part of a broader counterterrorism effort and, as of November, more than 26,600 terror suspects have been flagged. Turkey has deported more than 2,500 suspected foreign fighters to their countries and more than 4,000 had been interrogated at special risk analysis units at airports. Some 1,550 of them were sent back after being declared suspects, a source added.

"Turkey is doing its best to stop foreign fighters. Intelligence sharing is absolutely necessary if the international community wants to combat terrorism. However, even after the Paris attacks there are deficiencies in intelligence sharing with our allies," a source said.

"Even the arrest of Ahmet Dahmani, who is one of the suspects of the Paris attacks, reveals a lack of cooperation in intelligence sharing. We have confirmed that Dahmani arrived from Amsterdam on Nov. 14, but there is no record of Belgian authorities having warned Turkey about Dahmani, so he was not on the list of the entry ban," the source said, adding that police apprehended Dahmani based on intelligence gathered by Turkish intelligence.

Regarding the profile of suspected foreign fighters on the no-entry list, a source said roughly 50 percent of the people on the no-entry list are nationals from Middle Eastern and North African countries while citizens from North American and Western European countries comprise another 25 percent of the list.

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