Turkish citizenship granted to eight ISIS members – report

Turkey granted citizenship to eight members of the Islamic State (ISIS), whose assets have been seized over terror links, Ankara Gazetesi news site reported on Wednesday.

The eight are among 86 people whose assets were seized by the interior and treasury and finance ministries over membership in the jihadist organisation, following a decision published in the Official Gazette on Tuesday.

The assets of a total of 377 legal persons and entities were frozen over links to groups Turkey deems as terrorist organisations - including Fethullah Gülen, accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt and Cemil Bayık, the second top leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the decision signed off by the ministers Süleyman Soylu and Lütfi Elvan.

The citizenship granted to the ISIS members raises questions about the quality of security checks conducted ahead of the move, Ankara Gazetesi said.

Turkey was one of the principal routes for foreign fighters trying to join ISIS at the height of the group’s self-declared "caliphate."

The country continues to be a regional transit hub for group members, although Ankara has recently stepped up efforts to counter attempts of smuggling ISIS fighters and weaponry into war-torn Syria.