Missing Syria schoolgirls: Turkish Ambassador and Turkish Airlines executive called before Home Affairs Select Committee

The schoolgirls are believed to have crossed the Turkish border into Syria to join Isis

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MPs have called Turkey’s ambassador and the chief executive of Turkish Airlines to appear before a select committee, after three British teenage girls were believed to have travelled to Syria to join Isis via Istanbul.

The Commons Home Affairs Select Committee has asked Ambassador Abdurrahman Bilgic and Temel Kotil, the head of Turkey’s flag carrier airline, to discuss how budding fighters can be prevented from using Turkey as a route to the conflict in Syria.

The request comes as police attempt to track down Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, who boarded a Turkish Airlines flight from Gatwick Airport to Istanbul last Tuesday. It is feared the trio are planning to join Isis militants.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said the pair had been called to appear before the cross-party group on 10 March, where they will be joined by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

He said: “It is shocking that at least four girls have flown unaccompanied using Turkish Airlines as part of their journey to reach IS without the British authorities being alerted.

"Without taking serious and urgent action on an international scale, more and more brainwashed young people are likely to follow in these girls' footsteps,” he warned.

Mr Vaz added that the committee will also discuss improving collaboration on an international level, after Turkey's deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc accused the British authorities of waiting three days to alert the country’s officials that the girls were missing.

Earlier today, Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that security arrangements on aeroplanes and at the border between Turkey and Syria could be tightened to prevent young people travelling to join the extremist group, and has asked Home Secretary Theresa May and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to examine “all the protocols we have in place”.

He also denied Mr Arinc’s accusation that there was a delay in informing the authorities there about the girls.

“My understanding is that the police did respond relatively quickly in terms of informing the Turkish authorities and what the Turkish deputy prime minister has said about a three day delay is not accurate,” he said.

"But there are always lessons to learn on this occasion.

"I suspect the lessons will be (that) not just we can tighten arrangements on aeroplanes and at our borders but also we all have a responsibility - schools, parents, families, communities, universities, colleges all have a responsibility to fight this poisonous radicalisation of young people's minds."

Last night, Scotland Yard said counter-terrorism officers leading the investigation "now have reason to believe that they are no longer in Turkey and have crossed into Syria".

A spokesman added: "Officers continue to work closely with the Turkish authorities on this investigation."

Additional reporting by PA