Sep 26, 2014 2:29 PM

Turkey, France in talks after mix-up over jihadis

The Associated Press

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) French police will accompany any French jihadis caught and extradited by Turkey, France's interior minister said Friday, following a mix-up in which three suspected Islamic State militants who had traveled to Syria were sent home by police in Turkey without French police knowing about it.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, also said France and Turkey had agreed that Paris would be given prior notice by Turkey before a French citizen is put on a plane and expelled.

Cazeneuve travelled to Turkey to discuss ways of improving communications and extradition procedures between the two countries, immediately after the incident in which the three passed through French customs without being apprehended. They turned themselves in Wednesday.

French authorities also botched early reports about the men, saying they were apprehended at Orly airport in Paris only to announce later they had flown to Marseille, passed through a customs check and walked away free.

"The return of the French citizens will be conducted in the presence of French police," Cazeneuve told reporters after his meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Efkan Ala.

French authorities estimate that 900 citizens or residents of France have planned to go to Syria and Iraq to wage jihad, the largest figure for any country in Europe. Many fly to Turkey and then cross into Syria.

U.S. intelligence officials estimate some 12,000 foreigners have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the Islamic State group, which has many as 31,000 fighters.

Ala said Turkey had barred 6620 suspected jihadis from 81 countries from entering Turkey. Turkey had also expatriated another 1013 people from 73 countries, he said.

"However, our expectation from source countries is that they prevent people with known terrorist links from leaving their countries," Ala said.


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