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Turkey Deports 11 Suspected IS Members 12/09 06:21

   ANKARA, TURKEY (AP) -- Turkey has deported 11 French nationals who are 
suspected of being members of the Islamic State group, the Interior Ministry 
said Monday.

   A brief ministry statement said 11 "foreign terrorist fighters" were 
returned to their home country.

   It did not provide details or identify the suspects.

   Last month, Turkey stepped up the return of suspected foreign IS members --- 
either held in Turkish prisons or in Syria --- back to their countries of 
origin, saying Turkey was "not a hotel" for foreign fighters. 

   While Turkey has quietly deported suspected jihadists for years, it raised 
the issue more forcefully after Western nations refused to back its invasion of 
northeastern Syria and its offensive against Syrian Kurdish fighters, whom 
Ankara considers terrorists linked to Kurdish insurgents fighting inside 
Turkey. Many countries have voiced concerns that the Turkish incursion would 
lead to a resurgence of IS. 

   Monday's deportations raised the number of such foreign fighters expelled 
from Turkey since Nov. 11 to 71, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported, 
including citizens of the United States, Denmark, Germany, Ireland and the 
Netherlands. At least 18 suspects were returned to Germany, the agency reported.

   The Interior Ministry said Sunday that an Australian national accused of 
being a foreign terrorist fighter was also deported.

   Turkey has been accused of enabling the influx of thousands of foreign IS 
sympathizers into Syria over the years. At the height of the extremist group's 
power, the Turkish border crossings were the main route for those hoping to 
join IS in Syria. Turkey has denied the accusations and later stepped up 
security at its borders, including by profiling possible IS fighters at 
airports and building a wall along parts of its porous border.


(KR)

 
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