20 Feb 2021

NZ woman set to be deported from Turkey

1:36 pm on 20 February 2021

It is believed a New Zealand woman and her two children who were detained at the Turkish border while trying to enter from Syria will be deported.

A 26-year-old New Zealand citizen and two children were taken to court at Hatay under security measures. Turkye's Ministry of National Defence said they tried to enter from Syria illegally.

Suhayra Aden, right, is escorted into court by a Turkish police officer. (file pic) Photo: AFP / Anadolu Agency

The Turkish Ministry of National Defence alleges the woman - named as Suhayra Aden - is a terrorist belonging to Islamic State.

RNZ correspondent Vehbi Bas said Turkey has dropped charges against the 25-year-old and has begun procedures to deport her.

He said internal Turkish police correspondence shows she was taken to a deportation centre on Tuesday.

Aden acquired dual nationality after moving to Australia when she was six and travelled to Syria from there in 2014 to join Islamic State leading to Australia stripping her of citizenship last year.

While it is unclear where Aden will be deported to, Turkish authorities are referring to her as a New Zealand citizen in official documents.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade would not comment, saying it would not be releasing details of this case for "privacy reasons".

"This is a complex matter that we are working through with Turkish and Australian authorities."

Turkey's decision is likely to make it an easier issue for the New Zealand government to deal with, according to law professor Alexander Gillespie

He said New Zealand now has no option but to accept Aden when she turns up at the border.

However, he believed Aden will be detained when she arrives and the recent Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Act is likely to apply.

Meanwhile, the government has been refusing to disclose details on the welfare of the woman and her two children.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has previously told RNZ it is giving them consular assistance.

But citing privacy reasons, it has not provided information on their welfare, and whether the woman has been charged, or is being deported.

Earlier this week the announcement that Australia had taken away the woman's citizenship led the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern lashing out at the decision and accusing Australia of walking away from its responsibilities.

Ardern and Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed the matter in a phone call on Tuesday night with Ardern labelling the talks as "constructive".

A statement released afterwards said Australia and New Zealand are "working through those issues in the spirit of our relationship".

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