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Erdogan jabs French intelligence over surveillance

January 12, 2015

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president said Monday he sees hypocrisy in the West’s reaction to last week’s terror attacks in Paris and asked why two of the gunmen were not monitored more closely after being released from prison.

“Doesn’t the intelligence service there follow those who have been released,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a news conference with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Two of the gunmen in the Paris attacks, Amed Coulibaly and Sherif Kouachi, had served prison sentences.

Erdogan’s comments come as Turkey faces questions about how the common law wife of one of the perpetrators passed through Turkey shortly before the attacks and later crossed into Syria.

Germany’s domestic intelligence chief urged Turkey to do more to prevent extremists crossing its territory to join the Islamic State group and other terrorist organizations.

Erdogan said that the West’s reaction to the attacks was infused with Islamophobia.

“The hypocrisy of the West is plain to see,” he said. “We as Muslim never sided with terrorism, we never sided with massacres. What lies behind these massacres is racism, hate speech and Islamophobia.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a regular target of barbs by Erdogan, was also criticized for participating in a unity rally in Paris on Sunday.

“I ask what do you make of this person who carries out state terrorism by massacring 2,500 people in Gaza, waving?” he said. “I am finding it hard to understand where he found the cheek to go there.”

“You should be accounting for those children and women you massacred,” he said.

Update hourly