Turkey jails Briton who helped f ight ISIS in Iraq
A FORMER British Army soldier who fought against Islamic State in Syria has been sentenced to nearly eight years in jail in Turkey.
Joe Robinson, 25, was arrested while on holiday in Turkey last year and accused by authorities of belonging to a Kurdish terrorist group.
Robinson insists he only fought with the People’s Protection Units of Syrian Kurdistan (YPG) against ISIS and that he was never involved in any Kurdish terrorist groups which have launched attacks in Turkey.
Robinson is understood to have fought against ISIS in 2015, having joined the international military effort against the jihadis after an ISIS fighter murdered 39 British tourists at a Tunisian resort earlier that year.
The ex-squaddie, originally from Accrington, Lancashire, previously fought the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2012 with his local unit, the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment.
Last night, his horrified mother Sharon Robinson said she would do whatever it took to get her son home. She wants UK politicians to persuade the Turkish government to let him serve a prison sentence in Britain rather than Turkey.
She said: ‘I am under the impression that the British Government can ask for him to be extradited back to the UK. That would be a massive relief, especially as he has committed no crime under UK law.’
While the UK does not consider the YPG to be a terrorist organisation, Turkish authorities are convinced the group is closely linked to more radical Kurdish groups such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Court papers from Friday’s hearing indicate that Robinson was sentenced for being a member of the PKK, a claim he and his family strenuously deny.
Robinson was originally arrested alongside his fiancee Mira Rojkan, a Bulgarian citizen who had been living in Leeds. She was accused of engaging in terrorist propaganda but was given a suspended sentence and allowed to leave Turkey.
Last night, she criticised the UK Government’s role in the case. She told the BBC: ‘Unfortunately for Joe, there was very little help from the Foreign Office. They didn’t send any representatives and didn’t help nearly as much as the Bulgarian foreign ministry. His sentence is not justifiable and is based on a political agenda.
‘He was shocked by the news. He’s broken, he’s tired and he just wishes to come home as soon as possible.’
‘BROKEN’: Jailed fighter Joe Robinson pictured in Kurdish YPG uniform in 2015