Minister: Turkey deported 1,056 ‘foreign fighters’

The interior minister says Ankara banned 7,833 people from entering Turkey to stop the recruitment of militants to Syria and Iraq

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Turkey has deported 1,056 foreigners and put a travel ban on 7,833 others as part of its efforts to curb the recruitment of militants to neighboring Syria and Iraq, Hurriyet Daily News reported the country’s interior minister as saying on Friday.

“So far, we have banned 7,833 people from entering Turkey and we have deported about 1,056 people,” Efkan Ala said.

While briefing Turkish envoys at the annual ambassadors’ conference in Ankara on Jan. 7, Ala urged them to “tell the world about the facts.”

However, there are no information about the timeframe of these figures and if it was for 2014 as a whole.
Turkey – a significant NATO member - was criticized by the international community for not fully and publically joining the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants.

On Thursday, the Combined Joint Task Force said that the United States and its allies conducted 13 air strikes against ISIS in Syria and Iraq in the past two days.

In Syria, five strikes by fighter and bomber aircraft near the city of Kobani hit fighting positions and a staging area while another near Al-Hasakah hit crude oil pumps and well heads.

Air strikes near the Iraqi cities of Al-Rutbah, Tal Afar, Kirkuk, Fallujah, Al-Asad and Sinjar destroyed or damaged units, a checkpoint and vehicles belonging to ISIS, which is trying to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East.

Despite Ala’s statement, Turkey continues to stay vigilant in not getting itself embroiled in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

But Turkey’s Parliament approved on late Jan. 6 a motion authorizing the government to send Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) troops to Afghanistan as part of NATO’s latest mission.

This will allow the government to continue deploying Turkish troops to Afghanistan for two more years in order to support a new NATO-led mission called Resolute Support, which was launched on Jan. 1.

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