Turkey has repatriated 9,000 foreign nationals from 102 countries since 2011, including 1,168 people from the US and EU member states, who it says are members of terrorist organizations, the Interior Ministry said on Tuesday.
“The Interior Ministry’s Directorate of Migration Management continues its efforts to deport foreign terrorist fighters who left their countries to join terrorist organizations such as the PKK/PYD [Kurdistan Workers/Party/Democratic Union Party] and DAESH [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)]. A total of 9,000 foreign terrorist fighters from 102 different nationalities have been repatriated since the Syrian civil war started in 2011,” the ministry said in a press release.
According to the ministry data, a large number of those repatriated were EU nationals. Since 2011, Turkey has repatriated 59 US nationals and 1,109 citizens of EU member countries, the ministry said.
The Turkish Justice Ministry said in 2019 that there were some 1,200 foreign ISIL members being held in Turkish prisons.
A report by the US Department of Defense had said Turkey is still a transit country for logistics, finance and weapons for ISIL despite the country’s efforts to step up its crackdown on the terrorist organization. The 136-page report, submitted to the US Congress, included the claim, based on remarks from the US European Command, that Turkey is still used as a base by ISIL, particularly for money transfers.