May 19, 2015 / 12:52 PM / in 3 years

Sweden asks Turkey for help finding Islamic State-bound nationals

ANKARA (Reuters) - Sweden has asked Turkey for help finding three Swedish nationals it believes are trying to join Islamic State militants in Syria despite twice being intercepted and deported from Turkey, senior Turkish officials said on Tuesday.

The three - identified as Mohamed Qadar, Yasmin Said Ahmet and Abdelmoumenne Amin Ghezali - were first deported on May 5 after arriving at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport from Stockholm, one of the officials said.

Turkey has deported 1,350 foreigners suspected of seeking to join radical groups in Syria and Iraq over the past few years, and has a list of some 13,500, drawn up with the help of foreign intelligence agencies, who are barred from entering the country.

Turkish officials said the three Swedish nationals tried to enter Turkey again on May 12 from the Greek island of Kos, but were sent back.

Swedish officials informed Turkey on May 15 that the three could be in Bodrum, a popular holiday destination on the Mediterreanean coast, based on a social media postings. Turkish officials believe they are still in Kos.

Islamic State is believed to have attracted thousands of foreign fighters. Turkey has rebuffed criticism from some Western countries for failing to stem the flow, arguing that domestic intelligence agencies need to do more to stop their nationals being radicalized and traveling to Turkey in the first place.

Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Writing by Ece Toksabay; editing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Nick Tattersall

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