Turkey deported two foreign terrorist fighters back to their countries of origin, Morocco and Germany, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.
In a statement, the ministry said the Moroccan and German nationals were sent back to their countries of origin as part of Turkey's ramped-up efforts to repatriate foreign terrorist fighters.
The statement did not specify which terror group the fighters belonged to, but in recent months, it has been stressing the return of Daesh terrorists.
Turkey continues to deport foreign terrorist fighters, the statement said.
Ankara is moving forward with its campaign to repatriate all terrorists with foreign nationalities, amid a series of counterterrorism operations. As part of Turkey's ramped-up efforts to repatriate foreign terrorists, the Interior Ministry said on Nov. 9 that the country would begin extraditing captured Daesh terrorists to their home countries.
Between Nov. 11 and Dec. 19, a total of 110 foreign Daesh terrorist fighters were deported to their countries of origin. There are still 849 foreign Deash terrorist fighters waiting in repatriation centers set to be deported soon.
The issue of handling Daesh members and their families detained in Syria – including foreign members of the terror group – has been controversial, with Turkey arguing that foreign-born terrorists should be repatriated to their countries of origin, while several European countries have refused, saying the terrorists are denationalized.
Ankara began repatriating captured Daesh terrorists after the interior minister warned last month that Ankara would do so even if the prisoners had had their citizenship revoked.
Turkey has also criticized Western countries for refusing to repatriate their citizens who joined Daesh in Syria and Iraq, stripping some of them of their citizenship. Although the 1961 New York Convention made it illegal to leave people stateless, several countries, including France, have not ratified it and recent cases have triggered prolonged legal battles. The U.K. alone has stripped more than 100 people of their citizenship for allegedly joining terrorist groups abroad.
Some 287 Daesh terrorists have been captured in northeastern Syria, where Turkish troops launched an anti-terror operation in October, and hundreds more remain in detention as suspects. Turkey has so far deported 7,500 Daesh members, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in early December, adding that there are currently 1,149 Daesh terrorists in Turkish prisons.
Turkey recognized Daesh as a terrorist organization in 2013. Since then, the country has been attacked by Daesh terrorists numerous of times, including 10 suicide bombings, seven bombings and four armed attacks which killed 315 people and injured hundreds more.
In response, Turkey has launched military and police operations inside the country and abroad. Turkey has been actively conducting counterterrorism operations against Daesh since 2016. Since then, 4,517 of the 13,696 suspects detained in 4,536 operations have been arrested. Over the course of the operations, 1,018 terrorists were either killed, injured or surrendered. In order to apprehend Daesh suspects, 64 risk analysis units that include experts on terrorism and intelligence were formed across the country. The units regularly monitor suspects that operate within their region, as well as all other developments regarding the terrorist group, both within and outside the country.