Turkish security collected fingerprints of French jihadist’s wanted partner
Paris police have released photos of 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene and 32-year-old Amedy Coulibaly. According to police sources, Boumeddiene was linked to one of the Charlie Hebdo assailants. DHA PhotoTurkish security services collected the fingerprints of Hayat Boumedienne, whose partner shot a policewoman and killed four hostages at a kosher store last week in Paris after the Charlie Hebdo attack, when she entered the country on Jan. 2, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Jan. 12.
Turkish security forces were unaware of Boumedienne's importance, as she entered and apparently left the country before Amedy Coulibaly's attack on the store on Jan. 9. The Charlie Hebdo attack, in which 12 people were killed, occurred on Jan. 7, while Boumedienne is believed to have crossed into Syria on Jan. 8, Çavuşoğlu said. Coulibaly is also suspected of killing a French policewoman on Jan. 8.
According to initial information provided by Turkish security sources, Boumedienne is thought to have entered Syria after traveling to Turkey on Jan. 2 to join militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Daily Hürriyet has learned that although her current whereabouts have yet to be confirmed, Boumedienne’s fingerprints were collected by Turkish security.
“It is unlikely that she will cross again into Turkey, even with a fake identity, because her name has been revealed. Along with her fingerprints, her face has also been disclosed,” a security report on Boumedienne states.
“She will likely be [hidden] by the militant group. Then she might be dispatched to a different zone to operate,” the report adds.
Daily Yeni Şafak has reported that Boumedienne stayed for two days at a hotel in the Kadıköy district on Istanbul’s Asian side with a man identified as Mehdi Sabri Belhouchine. Both left the hotel only twice in two days, the daily reported.
British newspaper The Times had claimed that Boumedienne traveled to the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa on Jan. 4 and called France 18 times during her stay in Istanbul before crossing to Syria. The last signal from her phone came on Jan. 8, a day after the Charlie Hebdo attack and the same day as Coulibaly shot a policewoman, the report said.
Turkish PM rejects blame as Syria slams Ankara
For his part, Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Jan. 12 Turkey should not be blamed after Boumedienne travelled through Turkey to Syria before the killings occurred.
Turkish authorities first require intelligence in order to bar suspected travellers, he said, speaking at a news conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Davutoğlu's statement came as the Syrian government has accused Ankara of allowing "terrorists" to freely cross the border.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said Jan. 12 that Turkey had aided terrorists who "shed the blood of Syrians and innocent people worldwide" and called on the international community "to stop Turkey's destructive policy."
Earlier, Çavuşoğlu confirmed that there was airport footage showing Boumedienne’s arrival in Turkey on Jan. 2, as well as evidence that she stayed in Kadıköy and crossed to Syria on Jan. 8.
“We understand this thanks to telephone recordings,” Çavuşoğlu told Anadolu Agency on Jan. 12, adding that all information had been shared with the French authorities.
“We provided them with the information as soon as we got it, without them even asking,” he said.
French police initially suspected that the 26-year-old woman may have had a role in her partner’s acts of violence, but it was then found out that she was likely in Turkey at the time of the attacks.
Officials said Turkish security institutions had raised the sharing of intelligence with France to a maximum level, while insisting on the importance of informing Turkey about individuals with suspected links to terrorist groups.
Turkey has come under repeated pressure in recent months to tighten its borders to stop Islamists seeking to join ISIL jihadists in neighboring Syria over the last year, while Ankara rejects claims that it has been too lax.
Turkish intel head Hakan Fidan recently told ambassadors that Turkey deported 1,056 foreigners and put a travel ban on 7,833 in the effort to prevent foreign fighters from joining jihadist groups in Syria.