Turkey calls on Germany to take back 20 captured ISIS members
Ankara has demanded that Berlin repatriate 20 German Islamic State (ISIS) members who are in Turkish custody.
The demand follows a statement by the country’s interior minister over the weekend blasting European countries over their failure to repatriate ISIS-member citizens.
"We need the full cooperation and active partnership of our allies in the fight against terrorism," German broadcaster Deutsche Welle quoted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's communications director, Fahrettin Altun, as telling Germany's Stuttgarter Nachrichten newspaper in an interview published on Monday.
Four of the German ISIS fighters have been captured since the Turkish military offensive in northeast Syria launched on Oct. 9. The other 16 German members of the jihadist organisation were already in Turkish custody, Altun said.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Saturday said Turkey would not keep ISIS members from any country, stressing that the country was "not a hotel’’ for members of the group.
The Netherlands, Denmark and the United Kingdom have moved to strip dual national ISIS members of their citizenship or refused to repatriate them.
Soylu said it was unacceptable for countries such as England and Holland to merely revoke the citizenship of ISIS members and leave Turkey to deal with the group, labelling the move as irresponsible.
Turkey is looking to send 1,300 foreign jihadis, many of them from Europe, to their home countries, Deutsche Welle said.
Syrian Kurdish forces and the United States have also demanded European states take back nationals who joined the jihadist organisation.
More than 80 German ISIS members are imprisoned in Syria and Iraq, the broadcaster said.
Syrian Kurdish forces are holding around 11,000 ISIS fighters in prisons in northeast Syria.