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France

France condemns Istanbul airport attack, far right slams Turkish government

media Turkish forensic experts work outside Istanbul Ataturk airport Reuters/Murad Sezer

French President François Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls have condemned Tuesday's suicide attack on Istanbul's Ataturk airport, which has killed at least 41 people and injured about 150. Hollande called for more cooperation between security services to fight "terrorism and smuggling".

"I strongly condemn the attack," Hollande told a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday, adding that he feared that it would "make the situation in Turkey even more difficult".

Nobody had claimed responsibility on Wednesday morning but Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the evidence indicates that the Islamic State (IS) armed group was behind it.

It was vital to "find out who exactly the authors are so that we can do everything possible to fight terrorism together, especially in this region", Hollande said, calling for "Europe and France to better coordinate their [security] services and do as much as possible to fight terrorism and smuggling".

Valls tweeted that he was "horrified by the barbaric attack", declaring French solidarity with Turkey, while National Assembly president offered condolences to the families and friends of the victims on behalf of the French parliament.

Turkey criticised by French right

Front National leader Marine Le Pen struck a more critical note on Wednesday, accusing Turkey of having had an "ambiguous" attitude to IS in the past.

The Turkish government is "at least suspected of having facilitated ... the work of the Islamic State as part of its struggle with the Kurds", she said, referring to the repression of Kurdish insurgency in the south-east of the country.

"It's not enough to express our condolences after each attack, we have to act," she declared and went on to claim that the European leaders' offer to relax the EU's visa regime in return for Turkey taking more responsibility for Syrian refugees "creates all the conditions for a multiplication of attacks in our country".

Jean-Christophe Lagarde of the centre-right UDI also accused Turkey of an ambiguous attitude towards IS, recalling that Ankara prevented Kurdish fighters from crossing into Syria to fight IS in Kobane and other Kurdish-majority towns.

"I think that [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan's government has a heavy responsibility in the exacerbation of the crisis, "he said in a statement.

To read reports from south-east Turkey during the 2015 election, click here

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