(photo credit: ISLAMIC SOCIAL MEDIA)
Turkish officials worked with Israeli diplomats over the last couple of days to locate and repatriate a 21-year-old man who was in the country with the suspected intention of joining the Islamic State, the Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.
The cooperation comes amid recent signs of growing normalization between the two countries whose bilateral ties were badly damaged by the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010. Recent developments include the meeting in Tel Aviv on Monday between a Turkish economic delegation and Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara, acting minister of the Regional Cooperation Ministry, to promote a proposal to build an industrial zone near Jenin.
According to spokesman Alon Lavi, the ministry received a call on Thursday from a family concerned about a family member who flew to Crete on his way to Syria. From what the youth wrote on the Internet, the family feared he was on the way to join Islamic State.
The youth traveled from Crete to Izmir in Turkey and from there to Adana, in the southeastern part of the country, and from there to Iskenderun, near the Syrian border.
Lavi said that Israel – working with Interpol, Turkish authorities including the police in Iskenderun, its embassy in Ankara, and consulate in Istanbul – was able to successfully locate the youth The youth was returned to his parents – his legal guardians – who traveled to Iskenderun and brought him back to Israel on Tuesday. Parents can remain legal guardians over their children over the age of 18 in cases where the child has mental disabilities.
Ilana Ravid, director of the ministry’s department that deals with Israelis abroad, said the case was “complicated and worrisome,” but “with the diplomatic help of the Israeli representatives in Turkey, and the good will of the Turkish authorities, there was a good ending to the incident.”
It was not immediately clear whether legal proceedings will be initiated against the youth.