The woman, who held dual citizenship of Australia and New Zealand, left Australia to go to Syria
Statsminister Jacinda Ardern on Monday said she has accepted the Turkish government’s request to accept the return of the 26-year-old and her two children, confirming that the decision was not “taken lightly.”
The woman held a dual citizenship of New Zealand and Australia. She moved to Australia when she was six years old, men Canberra revoked her citizenship last year.
Australian prime minister Scott Morrison said at the time that “terrorists who fought with terrorism organisations” forfeited their right to citizenship and called her “an enemy of our country.”
The move was criticised by Ms Ardern who accused Canberra of “abdicating its responsibility.”
She said the woman should be harboured by Australia, where she spent most of her childhood and adult life.
But on Monday, Ms Ardern said the step was taken on the behest of their “international responsibilities as well as the details of this particular case, including the fact that children are involved.”
“They are not Turkey’s responsibility, and with Australia refusing to accept the family, that makes them ours,” Ms Ardern said.
“In making those plans, we can ensure that we have the safety considerations of New Zealanders as our highest priority… I can give absolute assurances that we have used all of the tools available to us to ensure the safety of New Zealanders on this return,”La hun til.
The woman left for Syria in 2014 on an Australian passport. She told ABC news in 2019 from a Syrian refugee camp that she was married to two Swedish Isis fighters, reported news agency AFP. Since February, the woman and her children have been lodged in immigration detention in Turkey after they were held attempting to cross the border from Syria.
Ankara identified her as an Isis terrorist who was subject to an Interpol “blue notice”, issued to seek a person’s verification of identity, location or criminal record in relation to a crime.
Ms Ardern said the woman “should expect” to be investigated upon arrival in New Zealand.
“It has previously been made clear that any New Zealander who might be suspected of association with a terrorist group should expect to be investigated under New Zealand law, but that would be a matter for the police,” Ms Ardern said.
The woman’s lawyer, Deborah Manning, said her client was “looking forward to being in New Zealand and giving her children an opportunity at living here and integrating, and really wishes to have privacy for them to allow them to settle in here and come to terms with everything they have been through.”