Turkey has vowed to make good on its promise to send foreign Islamic State fighters back to their home countries as soon as Monday, warning European nations that it does not matter whether the former militants are welcome at home or not.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Friday that militants captured during its military incursion in northern Syria – where many former IS fighters were being held in prisons after being captured by Kurdish forces – would be repatriated.
Turkey has long criticised its European allies for refusing to take back Islamic State fighters who are their citizens and claimed that it will send them back even if their citizenship has been revoked.
“We are telling them: ‘We’ll repatriate these people to you’, and we are starting as of Monday,” Soylu said.
It is the second time that Soylu has made his threat. On November 3, he warned that Turkey was “not a hotel” for captured militants and accused Britain, France and Belgium that expecting the authorities in Turkey to deal with the former militants alone was irresponsible.
All three nations have argued that IS fighters should face justice in Syria and Iraq, where their crimes were committed, while Britain has stripped dozens of former militants of their citizenship.