Turkey ISIS
Turkey arrested 45 Islamic State group recruits in Gaziantep, which sits on the border between Turkey and Syria. Above, Turkish soldiers stand guard as a Syrian refugee boy waits behind border fences to cross into Turkey. Reuters/Osman Orsal

Turkey has stepped up its efforts over the past three days to stanch the flow of Islamic State group recruits into Syria by arresting 45 foreign nationals in Gaziantep, a city in the southeast of Turkey close to its border with Syria.

Turkey has been criticized by Western powers for not doing enough to curb the number of foreigners recruited by the militant group formerly known as either ISIL or ISIS who first fly into Turkey and then take a bus to Gaziantep before illegally entering Syria. Meanwhile, Turkey has said it is doing everything in its power to secure its 566-mile border with Syria.

With the 45 detentions reported by the Dogan News Agency Sunday, it appears Turkey is amping up those efforts. Sunday alone, the country arrested 25 foreign nationals at the Gaziantep bus station. Those detained have gone through health checks and are being interrogated. Many of them are citizens of Tajikistan. They will likely be deported.

In a discrete operation, Turkey arrested Friday 21 suspected members of the Islamic State group in a number of other cities, including Istanbul. The many detentions this weekend came after a senior U.S. delegation visited the country for a couple of days. During the delegation’s visit, Turkey pledged to be more cooperative in the fight against the militant group.