News / Europe

    Turkey Deports Jihadists Linked to Syria Fighting

    FILE - An Islamist protester shouts slogans from behind a Palestinian flag during a demonstration in front of Fatih Mosque in Istanbul.FILE - An Islamist protester shouts slogans from behind a Palestinian flag during a demonstration in front of Fatih Mosque in Istanbul.
    x
    FILE - An Islamist protester shouts slogans from behind a Palestinian flag during a demonstration in front of Fatih Mosque in Istanbul.
    FILE - An Islamist protester shouts slogans from behind a Palestinian flag during a demonstration in front of Fatih Mosque in Istanbul.
    Dorian Jones
    Turkey has been deporting European nationals linked to radical Islamist groups fighting in neighboring Syria. Ankara faces growing pressure from its Western allies to crack down on jihadists.

    A Turkish media report, citing a ministerial source, said more than 1,000 European jihadists linked to groups fighting the Syrian government have been deported this year.

    A Turkish foreign ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he could not confirm the number, but he did say Turkish security forces were cooperating with their international counterparts.

    Semih Idiz, a diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Taraf and Al Monitor website, said this marks a shift in Turkish policy. Ankara has been accused of turning a blind eye to radical Islamists fighting to topple Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.  

    But Idiz said there is now growing concern in Ankara over the threat posed by jihadists.

    "Turkey is a hub country. It faces the Caucasus. It faces the Balkans where there are also jihadi elements. Think of Dagestan. Think of Chechnya for example, and the same you have Islamic communities in Europe you know. So yes it’s a conduit in this respect, but I don’t think it’s a willing conduit at the moment and I think it’s trying to control the situation," said Idiz.

    Analysts say Ankara has been under mounting diplomatic pressure from its Western allies, in particular Washington, over radical Islamist groups using Turkey as a base to fight in Syria.

    President Barack Obama reportedly raised the issue with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his visit to Washington in May.

    But diplomatic columnist Idiz says Europe, too, has been turning up the diplomatic heat on Ankara.

    "I think it has been under considerable pressure. From what we know from official statements in Europe they are afraid these citizens, in France especially, Britain, Germany - these countries are very wary about this issue, that these citizens will become even more radicalized and carry back their Jihad back to their home countries," said idiz. "These people fighting are not fighting for a cause, they are fighting for Jihad and Jihad is a universal thing. Today Damascus, tomorrow Frankfurt - it's all the same."

    The issue has been a point of tension between Ankara and Europe according to Soli Ozel, a lecturer in International Relations at Kadir Has University. He said Ankara feels its European counterparts have not been helping in addressing the threat.

    "The Turkish government complains that the governments in other countries know exactly who is flying to Turkey and who they are, and it also claims that the countries with citizens coming here are not giving proper information to the Turkish government," said Ozel.

    But observers say in the past few months a new atmosphere of cooperation has emerged between European countries and Ankara - a result of renewed progress in Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

    On Wednesday, Ankara signed a much-delayed agreement with Brussels on refugees and illegal migrants.

    Analyst Ozel said there are inherent risks for Turkey, however, from any crackdown on jihadist groups. "The precedence is from other countries that there might be a security risk. Jihadists have a habit of turning on those who have fed them if they don’t get what they’ve been accustomed to. But hopefully the Turkish security forces know exactly what they can get these guys."

    Analysts say Turkish security forces have a good record of tracking down al-Qaida groups. Following a series of bombings in 2003 in Istanbul, an al-Qaida cell was quickly identified.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora