Turkey Saturday threatened to send captured Islamic State members back to their home countries, saying Europe was taking insufficient action to deal with the detained fighters.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu accused Europe of refusing to take back citizens who joined the terrorist group, saying it was not “acceptable” to leave Turkey to deal with the prisoners alone.
“That is not acceptable to us. It’s also irresponsible,” he said, according to Reuters.
“We will send the captured Daesh members to their countries,” he added, using another name for ISIS.
European governments have been divided over whether to repatriate citizens who traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight for the terrorist group; France has advocated returning its citizens so they can face justice, while Germany has opted to allow its nationals to remain in the custody of Kurdish groups.
However, the issue has become more urgent in recent weeks as some fighters detained by the Kurds in northeastern Syria escaped during a Turkey offensive in the area. Some have since been re-captured by Turkish forces.
While the debate over what to do with detained ISIS members could prove to be a wedge issue, President Trump has not expressed concern over the fighters.
“Well they are going to be escaping to Europe, that’s where they want to go. They want to go back to their homes. But Europe didn’t want them for months,” he said at a press conference last month. “They could have had trials, they could have done whatever they wanted, but as usual, it’s not reciprocal.”