Turkey Warns Europe It Is Repatriating All Captured Islamic State Terrorists

A Kurdish security officer, foreground, stands guard next to Alexanda Amon Kotey, center, and El Shafee Elsheikh, right, two British alleged members of an Islamic State cell dubbed "The Beatles," known for beheading hostages in northern Syria, during an interview with The Associated Press, at a security center, in Kobani, …
AP Photo/Hussein Malla

The Turkish government has warned its NATO allies in Europe to get ready to receive thousands of Islamic State fighters captured on battlefields in Syria as it begins efforts to repatriate them to their countries of origin.

Turkey’s warning comes despite the unwillingness of Europe states to take them in, with the UK in particular even going so far as to strip known jihadis of their citizenship.

“We are not going to keep them until the end of time,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters. “We’re not a hotel for Daesh,” he said, using another name for Islamic State.

He said Turkey would hold captured foreign fighters “for some time. After that we’ll send them back to their countries”.

Soylu said E.U. countries including the Netherlands and Britain had stripped some of the fighters of their nationality to prevent Ankara from sending them home.

“They found an easy solution,” he said. “They say ‘I took his nationality away, it’s your problem now’. That’s unacceptable in our view, that’s totally irresponsible. What do you want me to do with your terrorist?”

Last year two captured Islamic State terrorists complained the UK was too harsh on them after the alleged members of ‘the Beatles’  execution team were stripped of their UK citizenship.

The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh last January in eastern Syria.

They argued that press stories about ‘the Beatles’ were fabricated and used as a pretext to have them killed – as ‘Jihadi John’ was in a drone strike. “No fair trial, when I am ‘the Beatle’ in the media. No fair trial,” Elsheikh said.

He claimed the British government’s decision in February to strip them of citizenship was “illegal”, exposing them to “rendition and torture”, Elsheikh said, “being taken to any foreign land and treated in anyway and having nobody to vouch for you”.

AFP contributed to this story

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