THE family of a former British soldier who has been charged with terrorism offences in Turkey have spoken of their anguish at the thought he will be stuck in an overseas prison over Christmas.

Joe Robinson, 24, who went to Syria to fight against the Islamic State terror group in 2015, was detained while on holiday in Turkey with his girlfriend and her mother in July.

Mr Robinson, of Accrington, fought alongside the People’s Protection Units of Syrian Kurdistan (YPG) against IS. But Turkey is hostile to the YPG because of links with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which is fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey.

He is due to appear before a judge in a Turkish court on November 24 when the charge of being a member of a terrorist organisation will be put to him.

But Mr Robinson’s family fear the case will then be put back until after the New Year, leaving Joe to spend the festive period behind bars.

Mr Robinson’s stepfather Mark Chimejczuk and mother Sharon are calling on the public to lobby the British Government to continue to apply political pressure on Turkey and ensure Joe’s timely release.

Mr Chimejczuk said: “It is soul-destroying to think of Joe alone in that prison. However difficult it is for us it pales into insignificance when we think what it must be like for him.

“He is in a cell by himself for 23 hours a day and he is let out for an hour for exercise. None of the other prisoners speak English. It is very hard. Sharon has only been able to see Joe once and that was only for 40 minutes. He is allowed to speak to us on the phone for 10 minutes every two weeks.”

But there are problems with that because they don’t understand the language but are listening in they are suspicious about everything he says.”

Mr Chimejczuk, 48, said the Turkish government’s case against his stepson is based on misinterpreted Facebook posts and that Mr Robinson is being kept as a political prisoner.

He said: “The idea of him being in that prison over Christmas is quite hard for us. We have known that it could be a possibility for a long time. But we hoped this court case would come on and he would be released.

“We just have to believe in diplomacy. The Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) have all said they have raised Joe’s case with the Turkish government and will do so every chance they get. For us it’s just about continuing to raise Joe’s case, keeping it in the spotlight and getting him home.”

He wants people to write to their local MP calling for Mr Robinson’s release and to sign a petition at

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “Consular staff visited Mr Robinson on 11 September to check on his welfare. We remain in contact with his family and continue to do all we can for Mr Robinson.”