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Row between Turkey and Europe escalates over fate of European Daesh fighters

ANKARA: Turkey has urged Europe to take back battle-hardened Daesh militants before it is too late. Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Saturday that Turkey would send captured Daesh members back to their home countries, and he complained about European inaction on the matter. “Turkey is not a hotel for any Daesh terrorist,” he…

Row between Turkey and Europe escalates over fate of European Daesh fighters

ANKARA: Turkey has urged Europe to take back battle-hardened Daesh militants before it is too late.

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Saturday that Turkey would send captured Daesh members back to their home countries, and he complained about European inaction on the matter.

“Turkey is not a hotel for any Daesh terrorist,” he said.

Lorne L. Dawson, professor of religious studies at the University of Waterloo in Canada, said responsibility for the repatriation of foreign fighters lay with these nations, and it was the most humane way to address the plight of children of foreign fighters who should not suffer because of their parents’ actions.

“The hesitation to do so would appear to be primarily political, since the repatriation of foreign fighters will be criticized aggressively by more conservative elements in these countries,” Dawson told Arab News. He said that many domestic terrorists have been successfully reintegrated into their societies, but only after receiving sustained and appropriate counseling.

“In principle, then, the same should be true for many returning foreign fighters, and in fact there are many such returnees already present in most of the countries from which fighters left, and so far they have been linked to only a very few further terrorists acts,” he said.

Last Friday, Turkey detained two female Daesh terrorists and their children at the request of the Dutch Embassy in Ankara. One of the women was stripped of her Dutch citizenship over her membership of Daesh. Turkey will decide on the legislative steps to be taken against them, but the Netherlands wants them to stand trial in Syria or Turkey.

On Sunday, a senior Daesh official responsible for training camps was arrested in Turkey’s southern Osmaniye province.

The Brussels-based think-tank Egmont recently released a report showing that there are at least 430 Daesh prisoners in Syria with European nationality, along with some 700 children. France, Germany and Belgium have the highest numbers of foreign fighters who traveled to Syria to join Daesh.

However, after a series of terror attacks in Europe by Daesh members who returned home after being radicalized, European countries consider them “persona non grata” and insist on establishing an international court in Iraq for laying criminal charges.

About 800 Daesh members are claimed to have fled from the prisons they were kept in Syria in recent weeks. In late October, the deportation process to Turkey began of dozens of Daesh terror suspects with their family members, all Turkish nationals.

Nihat Ali Ozcan, a retired major now serving as a security analyst at Ankara-based think-tank TEPAV, said that international law requires that Turkey deports Daesh fighters who are captured within Turkish territories, but the problem begins when they are captured within Syria in zones that are outside of the Assad regime’s control.

“Some countries want them to stay there, and for instance the Netherlands began the process of stripping Daesh members with dual citizenship of their Dutch nationality to render them stateless,” he told Arab News.

But Ankara criticizes Western countries for resisting repatriation by revoking their citizenship: “It is not acceptable for us (to hear) ‘I stripped them of the citizenship, you take care of it.’ This is also irresponsibility,” Soylu said on Saturday.

Turkey sends foreign fighters caught in Syria to prisons located in the area of Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield and they are then sent back to their countries of origin.

“However, it is usually difficult to prove in a trial that they committed any crimes because convictions are usually based solely on a confession and no other supporting evidence,” Ozcan said.

The average sentence for returned fighters, in Turkey or in Western countries, has been five years’ imprisonment, resulting in security threats from those who cannot be efficiently rehabilitated.

Imprisonment has its own complications. Prison can become “an incubator of radicalization” in the words of the EU’s counterterrorism coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, and imprisoned foreign fighters can also inspire their inmates.

For Dawson, the kind of programming required to rehabilitate many of the fighters is in place in many nations, especially in the West, and it merely needs to be repurposed from preventing violent radicalization to promoting the disengagement of foreign fighters.

Meanwhile, Turkey on Monday evening captured the 65-year-old sister of slain Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in northwestern Syria, where she was living with her family near the town of Azaz in Aleppo province. The area is part of the region administered by Turkey.

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Prince Harry’s wife Meghan returns to Canada amid royal storm

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the…

Prince Harry’s wife Meghan returns to Canada amid royal storm

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal family.
“I can confirm reports that the duchess is in Canada,” the couple’s spokeswoman told AFP, without providing further details.
The Daily Mail newspaper reported that the royals left eight-month-old Archie with his nanny in Canada when they flew to Britain earlier this week.
It said Meghan, a former US television actress, headed back to rejoin him on Thursday and “she may stay there for the foreseeable future.”
An unnamed source was quoted as saying by the domestic Press Association news agency the duchess had traveled to the UK “to attend some meetings” before returning to Canada
Senior royals were caught off guard by Wednesday’s announcement that the couple wanted to “step back” from their roles.
Queen Elizabeth II reportedly held crisis calls on Thursday involving Harry, his brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.
William, Harry and their wives have been viewed as the modern face of the royal family, hailed for bringing fresh energy into the institution.
But Harry and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and Archie’s birth a year later.
The couple have lashed out at negative news coverage — Harry calling some of it racist — and taken several papers to court.
The prince also confirmed he was growing apart from his brother, who is second in line to the throne.
The couple said they wanted to forge “a progressive new role,” split their time between Britain and North America and become financially independent.
A palace source on Thursday said the queen had instructed aides to work “at pace” with Meghan and Harry and the government “to find workable solutions.”
Key questions include whether they will keep their royal titles and how much of their funding — mostly from Prince Charles — they will maintain.
The couple’s decision follows a turbulent year for the wider royal family.
Prince Andrew announced he was retiring from public duties after a disastrous TV interview about his friendship with the late US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
 

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Deadlock over Nile dam as Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan look to Washington for talks

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal…

Deadlock over Nile dam as Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan look to Washington for talks

LONDON: Prince Harry’s wife Meghan has returned to Canada following the couple’s bombshell announcement that they were quitting their frontline royal duties, their spokeswoman said on Friday.The Duke and Duchess of Sussex spent an extended Christmas break in Canada with their baby son Archie, before returning to break the news that has rocked the royal family.“I can confirm reports that the duchess is in Canada,” the couple’s spokeswoman told AFP, without providing further details.The Daily Mail newspaper reported that the royals left eight-month-old Archie with his nanny in Canada when they flew to Britain earlier this week.It said Meghan, a former US television actress, headed back to rejoin him on Thursday and “she may stay there for the foreseeable future.”An unnamed source was quoted as saying by the domestic Press Association news agency the duchess had traveled to the UK “to attend some meetings” before returning to CanadaSenior royals were caught off guard by Wednesday’s announcement that the couple wanted to “step back” from their roles.Queen Elizabeth II reportedly held crisis calls on Thursday involving Harry, his brother Prince William and their father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.William, Harry and their wives have been viewed as the modern face of the royal family, hailed for bringing fresh energy into the institution.But Harry and Meghan last year admitted to struggling with the spotlight following their wedding at Windsor Castle in May 2018 and Archie’s birth a year later.The couple have lashed out at negative news coverage — Harry calling some of it racist — and taken several papers to court.The prince also confirmed he was growing apart from his brother, who is second in line to the throne.The couple said they wanted to forge “a progressive new role,” split their time between Britain and North America and become financially independent.A palace source on Thursday said the queen had instructed aides to work “at pace” with Meghan and Harry and the government “to find workable solutions.”Key questions include whether they will keep their royal titles and how much of their funding — mostly from Prince Charles — they will maintain.The couple’s decision follows a turbulent year for the wider royal family.Prince Andrew announced he was retiring from public duties after a disastrous TV interview about his friendship with the late US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. 

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Australia bushfires flare as heatwave brings renewed misery

LONDON: Britain’s royal family is hurt and disappointed by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s surprise announcement that they will step back from their senior roles and spend more time in North America, a royal source said.Harry and Meghan’s decision to step away from royal duties sent shock waves through the royal family as neither…

Australia bushfires flare as heatwave brings renewed misery

LONDON: Britain’s royal family is hurt and disappointed by Prince Harry and his wife Meghan’s surprise announcement that they will step back from their senior roles and spend more time in North America, a royal source said.Harry and Meghan’s decision to step away from royal duties sent shock waves through the royal family as neither Queen Elizabeth nor Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, had been consulted on the announcement, made on Instagram.Elizabeth, who has devoted her life to the public duty of monarchy since she became queen in 1952, and other senior members of the family felt hurt and disappointed by the move, a royal source said.“We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution,” Harry and Meghan said in their statement.“We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family, and work to become financially independent.”They said the decision was taken after months of reflection and discussion, and that they would split their time between the United Kingdom and North America to allow their family the space it needs.Cast by the couple as an exciting next step, it was not immediately clear how the couple will become what royal biographers said was akin to being a “half royal” — and who will pay for their transatlantic lifestyles.No senior royal has yet commented on the decision. British tabloids said the announcement had left senior royals such as Prince Charles and Harry’s brother, Prince William, incandescent with rage.Buckingham Palace said discussions with Harry and Meghan were at an early stage and that such complicated issues took time to work out.“MEGXIT” read The Sun’s front page headline. The Daily Mail said Queen Elizabeth was furious about the move.While the manner in which Harry and Meghan have tried to exit the spotlight cast on the world’s most famous family drew criticism, Prince Charles has long sought a slimmer and leaner royal family.The haste of their decision, though, raises questions for a family which had in Elizabeth’s words a “quite bumpy” year that included her son Prince Andrew’s decision to step down due to his relationship with disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein.Royal commentators drew parallels with the abdication crisis of Edward VIII who gave up the throne in 1936 to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson and lived out his life in France.Opponents of the monarchy were scathing and even supporters questioned how one could be a part-time royal.“This really is wanting to have your cake and eat it,” said Graham Smith, head of Republic which wants to abolish the monarchy.“They have said they will dip in and out of royal duties as it suits them but won’t stop taking public money until they find other sources of income.”Meghan, known for her role in the TV legal drama “Suits”, could return to acting in the United States though it is unclear how that would be viewed by the Palace.“Perhaps she’d have to be careful about what roles she’d do because she is a member of the royal family, so she couldn’t do too many racy sex scenes for instance,” said Royal biographer Penny Junor.Harry and Meghan, an American divorcee, met on a blind date but fell in love in Botswana. They married in May 2018 in a lavish ceremony in Windsor Castle that was heralded at the time as a sign of a more modern monarchy.Yet their relationship with the media turned sour as they struggled to deal with the intense scrutiny it brought.Educated at the exclusive Eton College, Harry’s teenage years were overshadowed by negative headlines. Harry and his brother disliked the press because of the way it had hounded their mother, Princess Diana, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997 while being chased by paparazzi.There have been negative stories criticizing Harry and Meghan’s use of private jets while promoting environmental causes and the 2.4 million pound ($3.08 million) taxpayer-funded renovation of their new home.The couple, whose titles are the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, began legal action against some tabloid newspapers in October over historic phone-hacking and invasion of privacy.Harry described the treatment of his wife as “bullying,” and likened it to that of his mother before her death.

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