Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday Turkey should not be blamed after a suspected accomplice in last week's attacks in Paris travelled through Turkey to Syria before the killings occurred.
Turkish authorities first require intelligence in order to bar suspected travelers, he said, speaking at a news conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Turkey has deported between 1,500 and 2,000 foreign nationals whose names have appeared on a black list of 7,000 people provided by international intelligence agencies, he said.
Hayat Boumeddiene at Istanbul airport (צילום: רויטרס)
Earlier on Monday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the suspected female accomplice of Islamist militants behind attacks in Paris was in Turkey five days before the killings and crossed into Syria on Jan. 8, according to state-run Anatolian news agency.
French authorities launched a search for 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene after French anti-terrorist police killed her partner Amedy Coulibaly in storming a Jewish supermarket where he had taken hostages. They described her as armed and dangerous.
Anatolian, on its website, cited Cavusoglu as saying in an interview she had arrived in Istanbul from Madrid on Jan. 2. Turkey had received no request from Paris to deny her access.
"There is footage (of her) at the airport. Later on, she stayed at a hotel with another person and crossed into Syria on January 8. We can tell that based on telephone records," he said.
Those dates would put Boumeddiene in Turkey before the violence in Paris began, and leaving for Syria while the attackers were still hiding from police.
Coulibaly said he was carrying out the attack in the name of Islamic State, a militant Islamist group that has seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Seventeen people, including journalists and policemen, were killed in three days of violence that began with the storming of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, Jan. 7, and ended with a hostage-taking at a kosher supermarket on Friday when four hostages were killed.
Three gunmen were killed and there was some confusion at first about whether Boumeddiene had been present in the supermarket when police stormed it, and had escaped.
An official French police photograph shows a young woman with long dark hair hitched back over her ears. French media, however, released photos purporting to be of a fully-veiled Boumeddiene, posing with a cross-bow, in what they said was a 2010 training session in the mountainous Cantal region.
French media described her as one of seven children whose mother died when she was young and whose delivery-man father struggled to keep working while looking after the family. As an adult, she lost her job as a cashier when she converted to Islam and started wearing the niqab. Syrian state television quoted a source at the foreign ministry as saying Cavusoglu's comments were a "clear formal confession that Turkey is still the main crossing for foreign terrorists into Syria".