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New Zealand lashes out at Australia over responsibility of terrorist with dual nationality

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New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Arden accused Australia of “abdicating its responsibilities” after a dual national was arrested in Turkey with alleged links to IS.

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New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Arden on February 16 accused Australia of “abdicating its responsibilities” after a dual national was arrested in Turkey with alleged links to the Islamic State militant group. According to BBC, a 26-year-old woman is facing deportation to New Zealand after being caught by the Turkish authorities near the Syrian border and is believed to be a member of the Islamic State extremists group. She held both Australian and New Zealand citizenship until Canberra revoked it last year, leaving her situation to Wellington to deal with. 

New Zealand PM said that the dual national should be sent to Australia. Arden pointed out that the woman, who the Turkish ministry of National Defence has identified as a member of IS, had not lived in New Zealand since she was a child. She said that the woman left NZ at the age of six, was resident in Australia from that time, became an Australian citizen, left from Australia to Syria and travelled on an Australian passport. 

Arden concluded by saying that New Zealand is “tired of having Australia exporting its problem”. She added that Canberra was “wrong” to expect New Zealand to accept the woman. “Any fair-minded person would consider this person an Australian and that is my view too,” Arden said. 

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Morrison defends decision as ‘national security interest’ 

Australian PM Scott Morrison responded to Arden by saying that his job was to protect “Australia’s interest”. He defended his government’s decision as in “Australia’s national security interests” and added that the legislation passed in parliament automatically cancels the citizenship of a dual citizen accused of being engaged in terrorist activities. Further, Morrison even said that he would speak with Arden, adding that there is still a lot more unknown about this case and where it sits and where it may go next. 

It is worth noting that New Zealand has previously criticised Australia for deporting people across the Tasman Sea who have tenuous ties to the country. As per reports, since 2014, around 3,000 New Zealanders in Australia have had their visas cancelled on “character grounds. The NZ PM has pointed out that many of those being deported have lived most of their lives in Australia and described the issue as “corrosive” to the relationship between the neighbouring nations. 

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Defence Ministry on Monday said that three New Zealand citizens were detained while attempting to illegally cross into Turkey from Syria. The ministry spokesperson said that the woman is wanted on Interpol notice for allegedly belonging to the Islamic State group. The woman was identified only by her initials S.A and she was accompanied by two children when she arrived at the local courthouse to be questioned by judicial officials following her interrogation by police. 

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