France, Turkey agree on intelligence cooperation over foreign jihadists

France, Turkey agree on intelligence cooperation over foreign jihadists

PARIS – Anadolu Agency
France, Turkey agree on intelligence cooperation over foreign jihadists

Turkish interior minister Efkan Ala (R) with his French counterpart Bernard Cazeneuve. AA Photo

France and Turkey have agreed to share intelligence information regarding people suspected to be attempting to travel to, or from, Syria and Iraq, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced Nov. 6 after a Group of 6 (G-6) meeting of European interior ministers in Paris.

Tackling the issue of foreign fighters, Internet monitoring and migration topped the agenda between the G-6 European Union interior ministers from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K. and Poland.
Turkish Interior Minister Efkan Ala, as well as high ranking officials from Canada and the U.S., also participated in the meeting.

“We agreed that Turkey will share information on people crossing [the country] to go to Syria and we will share with them information of those suspected of leaving France to Turkey in order to join militants in Syria,” said Cazeneuve in a press conference after speaking with his Turkish counterpart.

The meeting comes two days after the French Parliament adopted a controversial anti-terrorism law aimed at stopping French nationals from traveling abroad to fight in Syria, Iraq and other such regions.

A travel ban can be imposed on French nationals suspected of traveling to join fighters under the law, which also advocates targeting terrorism on the Internet with the possibility of blocking websites that “glorify terrorism.”

France’s top police official said he would recommend that other EU countries adopt the law.

“We are working together to have the same process and we are trying to adopt the same rules in order to be more efficient in our cooperation,” he said.

When asked how France is planning to deal with its nationals coming back from conflicts in Iraq and Syria, Cazeneuve said, “Of course, if they are French ... they will be followed by our intelligence services and we will help them in the process of integration in the society again after they serve jail time.”

According to the German authorities, some 3,000 citizens of Western European countries, including 400 Germans, have joined the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), among them are 1,000 French nationals.

“Since the beginning of 2014, the number of French nationals leaving to fight in Syria and Iraq has increased by 82 percent,” said Cazeneuve.