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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs