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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs