German intel chief urges Turkey to prevent extremist travel

German intel chief urges Turkey to prevent extremist travel

BERLIN - The Associated Press
German intel chief urges Turkey to prevent extremist travel

ISIL militants (rear) stand next to an ISIL flag atop a hill in the Syrian town of Kobane, close to the border with Turkey. AFP Photo

Germany's domestic intelligence chief on Jan.12 urged Turkey to do more to prevent extremists crossing into Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other terrorist organizations.

Authorities say that at least 550 people from Germany have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join extremist groups, along with more from several other European countries. Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany's domestic intelligence agency, said Turkey is a "key country" because well over 90 percent of the radicals traveled via Turkey.

While efforts to stop extremists crossing into Syria are partially successful, the number that have arrived remains too high - "so it is all the more necessary that the Turks take further measures," Maassen told ARD television.

Turkey says the common-law wife of one of last week's attackers in France arrived in Turkey on Jan. 2 and crossed into Syria on Jan. 8, the day after the massacre at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, speaking after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, later Monday rejected any suggestion that Turkey is doing too little against terrorism.

He pointed to the large number of foreigners who travel to Turkey, a popular tourist destination, and said that "we evaluate every tip that we get and our intelligence services work together."