Six questions on the expulsions of foreign jihadists, including four French women and their seven children, by Turkey


Ankara has begun sending back foreign members of the Islamic State group.

Turkey has put its threat into effect. Ankara began Monday (November 11th) to expel foreigners belonging to the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group that it held in its prisons to their country of origin. Among them, according to the Turkish authorities, are European nationals, including French nationals. According to franceinfo's information, these are four radicalized women and seven children. These evictions raise several questions.

How many inmates will be deported?

The spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of the Interior, quoted by the Turkish agency Anadolu, said 25 ISIS fighters are currently being deported. But he did not say whether these jihadists were sent back to their country of origin, as the Turkish government is committed to doing.

An American has already been expelled, according to the official, who has not yet specified to which destination. According to him, two other jihadists – one German and the other Danish – were also to be sent home on Monday. Seven more Germans should also be expelled Thursday. And steps are under way for the next dismissal of fifteen other jihadists: eleven French, two Germans and two Irish.

In Berlin, the German government confirmed the dismissal of a German on Monday by Turkey, and scheduled expulsions of seven more Thursday and two more Friday. These are three men, five women and two children. The German Foreign Ministry has indicated that it was not "not yet confirmed that they are IS fighters".

What do we know about French people?

Officially, France does not confirm the return of eleven of its nationals. "I am not aware, for the moment, of a specific return of terrorists from Turkey", said the Minister of Armies, Florence Parly, Monday on France Inter.

According to franceinfo, the eleven French people who will be deported are four radicalized women (who are the subject of an international arrest warrant) and their seven children. Some of them had left France and joined Syria in the first months of ISIS's constitution to accompany, join and marry French jihadists.

Among them, figure Amandine Le Coz, native of Domont in the Val-d'Oise. Party since 2014 in Syria, she had married two jihadists. There is also Sarah Ali Mehenni, a native of Aude, who, at the age of 17, joins the ranks of Daesh.

How many suspected jihadists does Turkey hold?

The figures differ according to the sources. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 1,201 members of the terrorist organization were being held in Turkish prisons. It is unclear whether this figure reflects the 287 people captured by Turkish forces after their escape from Syrian jails following the outbreak of the Kurdish offensive in northeastern Syria.

The identification of the nationalities of foreign fighters captured in Syria has been completed, 90% of them have been questioned.The spokesman of the Turkish Ministry of the Interiorat the Anadolu agency

But the Turkish public TV channel TRT Haber reports that Ankara plans to expel some 2,500 ISIS activists, the majority of whom are from countries in the European Union. And according to this Turkish media, 813 suspected jihadists, currently held in twelve Turkish detention centers, are awaiting deportation.

Are countries of origin informed about these evictions?

Thee spokesperson of the Turkish Ministry of the Interior, always quoted by the Anadolu agency, assured that "the countries concerned " by the expulsions of suspected jihadists had been "Notified".

In Paris, the Quai d'Orsay reminded AFP that jihadists and their families are regularly returned to France from Turkey and arrested on their descent from the plane. "Mostly secretly, the information does not come out or much later"said the ministry. These returns are at the end of an agreement negotiated in 2014 by the Minister of the Interior at the time, Bernard Cazeneuve, as confirmed Monday on France Inter, the Minister of Armies.

Under this protocol, the French authorities are warned upstream and evicted persons escorted by French police on board regular lines. A deal "which for now works without a hitch"according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "This is because we do not want to be confronted with 'savage' returns of terrorists that this protocol was organized and concluded", argued Florence Parly.

Why is Turkey deporting these prisoners now?

Long suspected of allowing jihadists to cross its border to join Syria after the start of the conflict that has been tearing the country apart since 2011, Turkey, hit by several attacks by ISIS, joined the international coalition in 2015. Since Ankara has arrested and detained many suspected terrorists. The Turkish government has also regularly called on European countries to take back their nationals who have joined the ranks of the terrorist organization in Syria.

In recent weeks, Turkey has been accused of weakening the fight against the dispersed elements of the IS by launching, in early October, an offensive against the Kurdish militia of the People's Protection Units (YPG), the spearhead of the fight against the jihadist organization. These referrals of suspected jihadists occur just in the wake of this Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria, strongly criticized by the West.

Why are these repatriations debated in France?

For a long time now, many voices have risen in France, particularly in the judicial world, to demand that the French involved in the activities of the terrorist group in Syria or Iraq be repatriated. The lawyer Gerard Chemla, who represents victims of the attacks in Nice (86 dead) and Bataclan (138 dead), warned Franceinfo that "we take responsibility" to repatriate and judge the jihadists, "either we will suffer".

We can not be against the attacks and the fact of taking care of the authors of attacks or the authors of the future attacks.The lawyer Gerard Chemla

"We need political will to repatriate", also argued less than a month ago the investigating judge David De Pas, coordinator of the antiterrorist pole of the Paris court. According to the magistrate, France incurs a "public safety risk" by refusing to take judicial responsibility for his jihadists.

But the French authorities, like those of other European nations, are reluctant to recover, especially for security reasons and because this measure would be unpopular in public opinion. The official doctrine is therefore based on "case by case".

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