On November 11th, a former ISIS member with US citizenship is stranded in the buffer zone on the border between Greece and Turkey.
“An American jihadist, expelled by Turkey to Greece is literally stuck in the buffer zone, separating the two countries after Greece refused to allow him entry into the country,” Jean-Charles Brisard, the president of the Centre for Analysis of Terrorism in Paris said.
Un #djihadiste américain de l’#EI expulsé par la #Turquie vers la #Grèce est littéralement coincé dans la zone tampon séparant les deux pays après le refus de la Grèce d’autoriser son entrée sur le territoire pic.twitter.com/2tSSivFOey
— Jean-Charles Brisard (@JcBrisard) November 11, 2019
A US State Department spokeswoman said: “We are aware of reports of the detainment of a US citizen by Turkish authorities. Due to privacy considerations we have no further comment.”
On the same day, Turkey announced that it had begun repatriating “former” ISIS militants to their countries of citizenship in Europe and the US.
One US citizen had already been repatriated and seven German nationals were due to be flown home on November 14th, Turkish interior ministry spokesperson İsmail Çataklı said.
Germany’s foreign ministry confirmed that a German citizen had been returned to Berlin from Turkey. The suspects’ alleged links to ISIS are still under investigation by Germany.
A Turkish official told AFP that the “former” terrorist had refused to be returned to the US and instead asked to be sent to Greece.
Athens said he was refused entry when he tried to cross the no man’s land between the two countries to the Greek town of Kastanies. He is reported to have spent the night outside and witnesses said he has been trying to shout to reporters on the Turkish side of the border.
During a speech on November 12th, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that these foreign ISIS members were “not our problem” and saying that more deportations would happen in the following days.
“You should revise your stance towards Turkey, which at the moment holds so many Isis members in prison and at the same time controls those in Syria,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara. “These gates will open and these Isis members who have started to be sent to you will continue to be sent. Then you can take care of your own problem,” Erdogan added.
#Erdogan says his gov't has more plans to send #ISIS terrorists back to Europe after he was asked to comment on American ISIS suspect who got pushed by Turkey to Greece on land border, but stuck in no-mans land there. He vows to continue sending them back. pic.twitter.com/S9oWOPajRQ
— Abdullah Bozkurt (@abdbozkurt) November 12, 2019
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to meet US President Donald Trump on November 13th, at the White House. It could be possible that the Turkish leader could be using the return of ISIS terrorists to Europe and the US as a bargaining chip in the talks.
Meanwhile, an ISIS member, living in the real-life version of the Tom Hanks’ movie “The Terminal” is partially humorous, but is also a symbol of the potential crisis that may, once again, take place along Europe’s borders.
State broadcaster TRT Haber said, said that there were 813 jihadists at 12 deportation centers around the country. Turkey has not given total numbers and nationalities of those it is planning to send home, or details on how such a policy will work, particularly regarding stateless individuals.
As per international law, an individual cannot be stateless, despite attempts by the UK and the Netherlands, in particular, to withdraw citizenship of alleged ISIS terrorists that are to be deported back to the country. But, under international law the individual cannot be stateless so that withdrawal is voided. Ankara, furthermore, said that it would repatriate them, regardless if they are stateless.
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