Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu rules out British spotters in Istanbul
by Anadolu Agency
BERLINMar 04, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Mar 04, 2015 12:00 am
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has ruled out placing British "police spotters" in Istanbul on the pretext of stopping foreigners from travelling across the Turkish border to join militant groups.
Çavuşoğlu made the remarks to the media during the 49th International Tourism Bourse in the German capital city of Berlin on Wednesday.
Regarding claims in the U.K that British police spotters might be placed in Istanbul, Çavuşoğlu said, "This is out of question. We already have a great cooperation with the U.K. on intelligence sharing."
On Tuesday, Keith Vaz, Chair of the Commons Home Affairs Committee in London, said: "Police spotters need to be placed in Istanbul so there can be immediate action taken."
"Foreign fighters are trying every possible way to join Daesh [ISIS] and other militant groups," Çavuşoğlu said. "We increase our measures day-by-day, both at our border gates and airports," he said.
The Turkish foreign minister also highlighted that Ankara has deported 1,112 foreign fighters who were allegedly trying to join Daesh [ISIS] since January.
"At least half of them were unknown to us before they came," he said.
Vaz had underlined that 22 girls have fled U.K. in the past year to join Daesh [ISIS].
Recently, three British students, Shamima Begum, 15, Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, left Bethnal Green Academy in east London in February for Turkey, reportedly to cross into Syria to join extremists, possibly Daesh [ISIS].
Istanbul police's surveillance video showed the trio at a major bus station in the city on February 17. A British police team arrived in Turkey on February 23 to assist in the investigations into the missing girls.
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc also blamed the U.K. government on Monday and said that Turkey was alerted "three days after" the three girls left the U.K.
The London-based independent advocacy group, CAGE, also said, "It was only on Friday [February 20], three days after they left, that the wider public learned about this, so I think Turkey is probably right at pointing their finger at the British government for not doing enough."
The British government estimates that up to 600 people have left Britain to go to Syria and Iraq. More than 200 people were arrested last year on terrorism charges, according to British police.