Turkey has refused entry over 36,000 Syria-bound suspects

Turkish interior minister says police forces have denied entry to more than 36,000 Syria-bound suspects from at least 123 countries

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala is seen in a file picture.

Updated Dec 20, 2015

Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala said on Thursday that Turkey has seized and deported more than 36,500 people suspected of entering Turkey with the intention of crossing into Syria to join terrorist organisations.

Most suspects were stopped from entering Turkey at the border and while nearly 2,800 were arrested and later deported, Ala added.

"Turkey has denied entry to 33,746 people from 123 countries suspected of joining terror activities in Syria," he said.

Ala added, "Turkey has detained and deported 2,783 suspects from 89 countries."

The minister did not give a time scale for the interventions.

In addition, the Turkish Armed Forces announced on Thursday that seven DAESH suspects aiming to cross into Syria were seized near Turkey's Syrian border.

The army said that three of the suspects were foreign nationals.

Turkey shares a 900 kilometer (560 mile) border with Syria.

Turkish authorities have stepped up efforts to protect the Syrian border, by improving security checks at ports, airports and crossings while reinforcing security there.

Ala also said Turkey exchanged intelligence with governments of the suspects.

Identifying stability in Syria as the key solution for the terror threat, Ala added, "There are many different terrorist groups in Syria. They have opened a space for themselves there and [have] conducted terrorist activities."

Touching upon the refugee crisis, Ala said that Turkey hosts around 2.7 million refugees from Syria and Iraq while spending nearly $9 billion on their accommodation.

He also said that Turkey has received less than $500 million in funding from other countries since the Syrian war started in 2011.

Tonnes of explosives belonging to PKK seized

Turning to domestic terrorism, Ala said security forces had seized 2,240 weapons, 10 tonnes of explosives and 10,000 petrol bombs belonging to the PKK which is registered as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and EU.

He said the PKK had received support from a number of municipal authorities in Turkey's southeastern provinces.

"The interior ministry has so far investigated 18 mayors and 41 aldermen. Some of them were removed from their posts and some others were arrested." Ala said.

Ala singled out the use of publicly-owned mechanical diggers and other vehicles as an indication of officials colluding with the PKK, who use the machinery to dig ditches and erect barricades to impede the security forces.

Since late July, more than 200 members of the security forces have died and around 1,700 PKK terrorists have been killed in renewed ​violence which brought to an end a government-backed initiative known as the "Solution Process," aimed at finding a settlement to the decades-old terrorism problem.


AA, TRTWorld and agencies