Turkey has begun deporting foreign militants of the Islamic State (IS) terror group being held in its prisons.  Turkish authorities began repatriating foreign IS militants on Monday, November 11.

Turkey’s Embassy in Dushanbe says the Interior Ministry of Turkey has yet provided them with information about foreign terrorist militants from Tajikistan being held in Turkey’s prisons.  

The Embassy representative noted that any information received on this issue would be made public.  

Meanwhile, a reliable source within the Tajik law enforcement authorities says no Tajik IS jihadists are held in Turkey’s prisons.   

“We have full understanding on this issue and today we have no information about Tajik IS jihadists being held in Turkish jails,” said the source.  “If they are any, trail awaits them in Tajikistan after extradition.”  

Some media outlets say as many as 2,500 militants could be sent back by Turkey, with the majority going to European Union nations, adding there are currently 813 jihadists at 12 deportation centers in Turkey.  

Turkey has repeatedly called on European countries to take back their citizens fighting for the jihadists.  But several European countries have stripped IS militants of their nationalities, to prevent their return.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was cited as saying that there are 1,201 Islamic State prisoners in Turkish jails, while Turkey had captured 287 militants in Syria.

According to Inosmi.ru, 750 of 1,172 supporters being held in jails in Turkey are foreign nationals.  They are reportedly citizens of 40 countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, Belgium, and Russia.   

Recall, Turkey’s Ambassador to Tajikistan, Mr. Ali Rifat  Köksal, told reporters in Dushanbe on July 13 last year that no one criminal wanted by Tajik authorities will find refuge in Turkey.  Ambassador Köksal noted that current bilateral cooperation between Tajikistan and Turkey in many fields, especially in the field of security, is excellent.