Briton who fought IS ‘begging’ for UK intervention over Turkey jail term
A former soldier sentenced to jail in Turkey after fighting the Islamic State terror group is “begging” for a firm intervention from the UK Government.
Joe Robinson, 25, was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years’ imprisonment after being accused of fighting alongside the People’s Protection Units of Syrian Kurdistan (YPG), which the Turkish state considers a terrorist organisation.
The YPG is not banned in the UK and Robinson, from Accrington, Lancashire, said he only spent a month with them in Syria while providing medical support to civilians.
Robinson, on bail in Kusadasi awaiting an appeal, called on Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to act urgently.
“It’s got to the point now where I’m mentally, physically and emotionally drained,” he told ITV News.
“I’m a proud man but I am literally at the point where I am begging, begging the British Government to do something.
“We haven’t really seen any intervention from them, we haven’t seen any discussions within a high scale in the Government.”
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said officials are ready to provide him with further assistance, adding: “We have been following this case very closely and have raised it with the Turkish authorities.”
But Robinson’s Bulgarian fiancee Mira Rojkan also called on Mr Hunt to apply pressure on Turkey.
Rojkan, a law student in Leeds, was also arrested during the family holiday last year.
The 23-year-old was given a suspended prison sentence for supposedly engaging in terrorist propaganda, for what she said was sharing pro-Kurdistan messages on Facebook.
She said the Bulgarian state provided her with more support than Britain has her fiancee.
“He (Mr Hunt) needs to get in touch with the Turkish authorities on a diplomatic level,” she said.
The YPG is considered by Turkey as a terror organisation because of its links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party which is fighting for autonomy for the region.
But Robinson was unaware of their ideology when he spent a month in Syria with them in July 2015 during which he did not see conflict, according to Rojkan.
She said it was in the following three months in Iraq that he fought IS with the Peshmerga, the Iraqi Kurdish military.
Rojkan said they had written to former foreign secretaries Boris Johnson and Alan Duncan over the case, but hope Mr Hunt will now intervene.
He has stepped up pressure against Iran in the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian mother jailed on a spying charge by the Islamist regime, after Mr Johnson came under criticism.