New Zealand criticizes Australia over detention of woman in Turkey

par Pravin Menon and Colin Packham

WELLINGTON/SYDNEY (Reuters) – New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday accused Australia of “unilaterally” stripping a woman of her citizenship being held in Turkey and accusing her of links to Islamic State.

Turkish authorities announced on Monday that they had arrested three New Zealanders, two children and a 26-year-old woman suspected of belonging to the Islamic State group, while they were trying to enter the country illegally from Syria.

Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that the woman held both New Zealand and Australian citizenships, but that the Australian government stripped her of her citizenship.

The Prime Minister of New Zealand considered that Australia “failed to perform its duties” by withdrawing its Australian citizenship from this woman without consulting New Zealand.

So New Zealand has to take responsibility for this woman, who has not lived in the country since she was six years old.

“Honestly, New Zealand is tired of Australia exporting its problems,” she said. Otherwise we take our responsibilities and that’s what we’re asking Australia to do.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison replied: “My job is to represent Australia’s interests. As Prime Minister, I must look after its national security. I think all Australians would agree with me.”

(French version by Camille Raynaud)

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