UK rejects claim they delayed to inform Turkey of missing schoolgirls

By REUTERS
February 24, 2015 16:23
1 minute read.

LONDON - Britain police have rejected accusations from Turkey that they delayed informing Turkish authorities about three teenage girls from London suspected of attempting to travel to Syria to join Islamic State.

Friends Amira Abase, 15, Shamima Begum, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, flew to Istanbul from London on February 17 in what the authorities believe was a bid to journey on to Syria.

On Monday, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Britain had taken three days to pass on details about the missing girls, saying the British would be to blame if they were not found.

But on Tuesday a London police spokesman said officers had contacted the Turkish Embassy in London on Feb. 18, the day after their flight.

"Since then we have been working closely with the Turkish authorities who are providing great assistance and support to our investigation," he added.

The girls' plight has prompted widespread concern in Britain, with Prime Minister David Cameron urging social media firms to do more to deal with online extremism saying the girls appeared to have been radicalized "in their bedrooms".

He also said airlines needed new systems to vet children travelling alone.

The girls were all high-achieving students who had given their distraught families no indication of what they planning, but had been in contact via Twitter with other women involved with Islamic State.


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