Turkey has expelled 40 French nationals: ambassador

PARIS - The Turkish ambassador in Paris on Wednesday highlighted Turkey's efforts to stop the flow of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq, citing numerous expulsions.

Hakki Akil also called on European countries to better control their borders in order to stop their nationals from reaching conflict zones such as Syria and Iraq.

"Turkey has expelled 40 French nationals suspected of terrorism  to France," said Akil. ''Turkey has no problem regarding the international cooperation (to fight terrorism), yet it is essential that other countries control the situation on their soil."  

The Turkish ambassador said that Turkey had received information on about 10,000 people suspected of terrorism and had expelled around 1,200.

"We can only cooperate if the countries of origin provide us with information,'' he explained. "Turkey cannot distinguish which French travelers come to reach the conflict zones. It is impossible for the (Turkish) police at the border or at airports to identify them."

Akil said that he regretted that the cooperation with France and other countries had not been better organized earlier. 

However, a number of concrete measures to stop the flow of fighters were recently adopted, said the ambassador.

More than 13,000 fighters from more than 80 countries have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, and other militant groups in Syria and Iraq, according to the UN. 

The French government estimates that some 1,300 French nationals are currently involved in fighting in Syria and Iraq.

EU leaders are due to discuss plans to combat terrorism at a summit in Brussels on Feb. 12, following the attacks in early January on Charlie Hebdo offices and a Jewish supermarket in Paris, which killed 17 people.

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