| 22 February 2024, Thursday |

New Zealand lashes at Australia over Islamic State suspect

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday accused Australia of abdicating its responsibilities by “unilaterally” cancelling the citizenship of a woman arrested in Turkey and accused of being affiliated to the Islamic State.

Turkish authorities on Monday said they had detained 3 New Zealanders, 2 children and a 26-year-old woman alleged to be a member of Islamic State, as they tried to illegally enter Turkey from Syria.

The woman had held both Australian and New Zealand citizenships, but the Australian cabinet cancelled her citizenship, Ardern said.

The 40-year-old leader said Australia had “abdicated its responsibilities”, forcing New Zealand to shoulder the responsibility for the woman, who has not lived in New Zealand since she was 6.

“New Zealand, frankly, is tired of having Australia exporting its problems,” Ardern said. “If the shoe were on the other foot we would take responsibility, that would be the right thing to do and I ask Australia to do the same.”

In a news conference in Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Morrison  said: “My job is Australia’s interests. That’s my job. And it’s my job as the Australian PM to put Australia’s national security interests first. I think all Australians would agree with that.”

Morrison  said he was scheduled to discuss the matter with Ardern today but added that legislation passed in parliament automatically cancels the citizenship of a dual citizen accused of being involved in terrorist activities.

  • Reuters