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Turkey Criticises Britain Over London Schoolgirls Thought To Be Heading To Syria

Deputy prime minister Bulent Arinc said British authorities should have alerted Turkey earlier about the missing teenagers. This post has been updated with the Metropolitan police's reply.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Turkey’s deputy prime minister, Bulent Arinc, has criticised the UK for taking three days to inform his country about three missing London schoolgirls who are believed to have made their way to Syria via Istanbul.

Adem Altan / Getty Images

Police said Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16, boarded a Turkish Airlines flight to Istanbul on Tuesday, and are concerned the trio are intending to join ISIS extremists.

Arinc said British authorities should have informed Turkey earlier about the missing teenagers.

“It is a condemnable act for Britain to let three girls … come to Istanbul and then let us know three days later,” the deputy prime minister said.

"They haven't taken the necessary measures. The search is ongoing. It would be great if we can find them. But if we can't, it is not us who will be responsible, but the British."

The three teenagers are pupils at Bethnal Green Academy in east London. In December, another girl from the school travelled to Syria.

Metropolitan police

Police officers from the UK have now travelled to Turkey as the search for the girls continues, the BBC reported.

Scotland Yard has now responded to Arinc's claims and said it actually alerted the Turkish authorities a day after the teenagers went missing, The Guardian reported.

The police force reportedly said in a statement: "Once we established that the girls had travelled to Turkey, police made contact with the foreign liaison officer at the Turkish Embassy in London on Wednesday, 18 February.

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

Richard James is the News Director for BuzzFeed Australia and is based in Sydney.

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