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A U.S. citizen suspected of being a member of ISIS is reportedly stuck in a heavily militarized no-man’s land between the borders of the country that kicked him out, Turkey, and the one that refuses to accept him, Greece, officials say.
President of the Centre for Analysis of Terrorism in France, Jean-Charles Brisard, shared a video from local Turkish media Monday that appeared to show an unidentified man, dressed in black, waving to cameras and standing just beyond the Turkish border.
“A jihadist American expelled by Turkey to Greece is literally stuck in the buffer zone separating the two countries after Greece’s refusal to allow entry into the country,” a translation of Brisard’s tweet read.
Greek police said in a statement that Turkish authorities had first tried to deport a U.S. citizen of Arab origin on Oct. 11 on grounds that he had exceeded his legal stay in Turkey. The man, however, stated that he did not wish to enter Greece and returned to Turkey, accompanied by Turkish police.
On Monday, he returned to the same border station on his own and asked to enter Greece, police said. Greek authorities refused him entry, sending him back to Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was asked to comment Tuesday after reports emerged that the government had released about 1,200 ISIS militants to their home countries as retaliation for the EU’s decision to impose sanctions on his country over its drilling for gas in Mediterranean waters off Cyprus.
“You should revise your stance toward Turkey, which at the moment holds so many ISIS members in prison and at the same time controls those in Syria,” he told reporters. “These gates will open and these IS members who have started to be sent to you will continue to be sent. Then you can take care of your own problem.”
When asked specifically about the ISIS member in the buffer zone, Erdogan said: “Whether they are stuck there at the border it doesn’t concern us. We will continue to send them. Whether they take them or not, it is not our concern.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.