Turkish envoy, airlines head called to British parliament
AFP PhotoBritish lawmakers have invited Turkey’s ambassador to Britain and the CEO of national flag carrier Turkish Airlines to speak about the disappearance of three teenage girls who are believed to have flown to Istanbul before heading to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
The U.K Parliament’s Home Affairs committee has asked Ambassador Abdurrahman Bilgiç and Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil to give information about how Turkey has been used as a route by would-be jihadists from Europe.
Three teenage girls from London feared to have run off to join ISIL are believed to have crossed into Syria from Turkey, British police said.
Close friends Kadiza Sultana, 16, and 15-year-olds Shamima Begum and Amira Abase boarded a flight from London Gatwick to Istanbul on Feb. 17.
Their families have launched a public appeal for them to return home.
Turkey, which has been accused by its Western allies of failing to do enough to stop jihadists crossing into Syria from its territory, had earlier accused Britain of failing to provide information about the girls sooner.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said he hoped the girls would be found, but that it would be Britain, not Turkey, to blame if they were not, saying British authorities failed to inform their Turkish counterparts in time.
Speaking on Feb. 25, Prime Minister David Cameron denied there was a delay.
“My understanding is that the police did respond relatively quickly in terms of informing the Turkish authorities and what the Turkish deputy prime minister has said about a three-day delay is not accurate,” he said.