Eleven terrorists of French nationality have been repatriated as part of Turkey’s newly-introduced process of deporting former Daesh members who have taken part in terrorist activities, the Interior Ministry announced yesterday. The repatriation came after Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on Nov. 28 that the French terrorists would be sent back to their country at the beginning of December. Some 200 Daesh terrorists whose countries of origin have been determined will be sent back to their countries, or any third country of their choosing. Currently, there are 938 foreign terrorist fighters being held in Turkey’s repatriation centers who are EU citizens. The deportation process for such prisoners was launched on Nov. 11. The issue of the handling of Daesh members and their families detained in Syria, including foreign members of the terror group, has been controversial, with Turkey arguing foreign-born terrorists should be returned to their countries of origin. Turkey has long voiced calls for returning foreign fighters to their respective countries as the best possible solution among other unfavorable alternatives. By being returned to the EU, the detainees might be prosecuted and thus prevented from being further radicalized in camps filled with fellow former combatants. Ankara has said several European countries turned down its efforts to send Daesh members back to their countries. The first batch of former Daesh terrorists to be repatriated from 28 detainment centers based in 23 of Turkey's provinces, were of German, Danish and U.S. origin. Of these, the U.S. citizen had requested to be sent to Greece, yet was left in a buffer zone when the country did not accept him. Terrorist fighters from Germany, the U.K., the Netherlands and Belgium have all been successfully sent back, followed finally by an Irish citizen, according to the Interior Ministry.
The ministry statement said that 71 foreign Daesh members were sent to their home countries from Nov. 11 to Dec. 9. They include 18 German, 11 French, two Belgian, two Dutch, one Danish, one Australian, one British, one American and one Irish national. "No matter what, we will send Daesh members back, we are not their hotel," Soylu said last month. Turkey has so far deported 7,500 Daesh members, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last week, adding that there are currently 1,149 Daesh terrorists in Turkish prisons. Moreover, Turkey has also prevented 8,922 foreign terrorist fighters from entering the country since 2016. Some 287 Daesh terrorists have been captured in northeastern Syria, where Turkish troops launched a counterterrorism operation last month.
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