As the battle between Islamic State (IS) fighters and Kurdish fighters intensified, Kobani’s refugees were faced with a very cold reception. Turkish authorities had them detained as they took their fingerprints. They were then interviewed for links with the Syrian Kurdish Political group in Turkey and the YPG, a labour arm fighting against IS in Kobane.
The two groups Turkey’s government had mentioned belong to the PKK, a Kurdish group that intends to give Turkish Kurds autonomy from Turkey. The US and NATO declare PKK as a terrorist group by itself, and the PYD and YPG are extensions of the group.
According to refugees, they were initially treated as guests. Then during their arrival, they were detained for security reasons. Many of the refugees were pregnant women and children. They also face the threat of being deported to Syria. Some were sent back to Kobane signing a voluntary agreement to return.
Turkey has housed countless refugees from the Syrian civil war and continues to accommodate refugees from different areas. Turkish officials stress that the detainment was necessary for “administrative supervision.”
Human Rights Group Amnesty International is calling on the Turkish government to release their detainees.
Turkish Kurds make up 20% of Turkey’s population. Turkey’s role in the fight against the Islamic State could prove an investment to cap the perceived Kurdish threat inside the country.