Iraq PM: Half of Detained ISIS Family Members Are Turkish

Says Many of the Detainees Will Ultimately Be Returned Home

In an interview with the Associated Press on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder Abadi claimed that around half of the 1,333 detainees held by the Iraqi government and “ISIS family members” are Turkish nationals.

While ISIS recruits and wives came from all over the world, it’s surprising to hear that a single nation would make up a majority of them. While Turkey had a lot of ISIS fighters entering Iraq and Syria through their country, it was never widely reported that so many Turkish families were crossing over.

Abadi gave the first indication of what’s likely to happen with all these detainees, saying that while the judiciary was who would ultimately decide, many of these detainees didn’t commit any crimes, and would ultimately be sent back to their countries of origin.

Abadi said less than 100 detainees have already been sent home, and that he wants to see his government speed that up. He said, however, that it depended heavily on whether other countries were ready to take them back.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.