TT govt accused of laziness on ‘Turkey 9’
PORT OF SPAIN – Member of Parliament for Naparima, Rodney Charles, says the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is showing a lack of urgency, manifest laziness, characteristic nonchalance, and dereliction of duty in its handling of the ISIS crisis and in particular the detention of Trinidad and Tobago citizens in Turkey.
In a press release Wednesday, Charles stated: “After being informed weeks ago that nine citizens were detained by Turkish authorities for attempting to enter Syria to fight alongside ISIS, our foreign ministry is as of today unable to confirm how many were detained, whether they are Trinidad and Tobago citizens, the plans in place to repatriate them if indeed they are our citizens, and actions, legal and otherwise to be taken on their return.”
Minister of National Security Edmund Dillon earlier this week told reporters: “We are still awaiting confirmation through the Minister of Foreign Affairs of course with respect to the persons detained in Turkey. Until we have those official confirmation it would not be wise for us to make any pronouncements.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Dennis Moses also told reporters that the Turkish government has not made a request to have them deported and that the detainees were in good health. “Persons that have been detained are in good health, certain requirements need to be met to facilitate travel to Trinidad should that be necessary and we are in a position to so do,” Moses said.
It’s been two weeks since Turkish media broke the story of Trinidadians trying to get to Syria via Turkey.
Charles said: “We have effectively outsourced our foreign affairs to third parties, in this case the Turkish authorities. This is manifestly unacceptable for a country aspiring to first world status. We are better than this. “Trinidad and Tobago is on a per capita basis one of the biggest suppliers of foreign fighters to ISIS. One would have thought that as a serious government, plans would have been in place to monitor impressionable young locals desirous of going to Syria, reduce the attractiveness of ISIS among our at risk youth, and establish protocols for dealing with our ISIS fighters on their return.
We are therefore in the unenviable position of having to wait on Turkish authorities to tell us if and how many of our citizens were on their way to Syria instead of it being the other way around.”