Turkey urges EU to share more intelligence against ISIL
AA PhotoTurkey is facing unfair accusations over the flow of foreign fighters into Syria even though it has been doing its best to close its borders, Turkey’s foreign minister has said, urging the European Union to share more intelligence over potential recruits to extremist jihadists.
“We are taking our measures and we have also established detection centers. And we are yielding results. But we can only end or reduce this problem through cooperation. Our cooperation has been strengthened recently. But there are still serious shortcomings with regard to intelligence sharing. We need to overcome this,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters at a joint press conference with visiting Macedonian Foreign Minister Nicola Poposki on March 13.
Çavuşoğlu singled out the failure of European Union countries in stopping the travel of foreign fighters without leaving their origin countries and called on them to intensify intelligence sharing with Turkey on foreign fighters. “To be frank, their justifications on this are not valid for us,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Providing updated information about Ankara’s actions to halt the infiltration of foreign fighters, he said: “Turkey is doing more than it has to do. We have issued travel bans on 12,519 persons. The number of persons we have detained and deported is 1,154.”
Çavuşoğlu’s remarks came a day after he revealed that three missing British girls who are believed to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) received assistance from a Syrian national serving for one of the anti-ISIL coalition countries. The country is believed to be Canada although there has been no official confirmation. Çavuşoğlu repeated his claim March 13 without specifying the country in question.
Turkey has become a transit country for foreign fighters who want to join ISIL and it was only natural for other countries to call on Turkey to take measures to stop it, he said, but added: “We are a democratic country, we can’t restrict people’s right to travel. But there are some questions in this regard: Is there an intention? This is a complicated situation and there are people who provide assistance to those people.”
Recalling that a 17-year-old South Korean citizen was believed to have crossed into Syria after receiving assistance from people who are working for both ISIL and coalition countries’ secret services, Çavuşoğlu said: “There is such a complicated situation, but it is always Turkey being criticized. This is this picture we are rising against.”