Turkish/Syrian border
A Turkish soldier stands guard on the country's border with Syria. BULENT KILIC/AFP

The speaker of Turkey's parliament claims that 12,500 individuals from 93 countries have been stopped travelling through the country to join Isis in Syria.

There has been criticism that Turkey has not done enough to stop the flow of foreigners travelling through the country to joint the jihadist group. However, parliamentary speaker Cemil Cicek hit back, saying thousands of foreigners suspected of travelling to join Isis had been stopped.

"Turkey has been cracking down on the foreign fighters crossing the country into Syria, the oil smuggling controlled by Daesh [an Arabic acronym for Isis] and has signed the train-equip program for the moderate Syrian opposition groups with the US," he said, speaking at the Center for Strategic International Studies in Washington DC. His comments were first reported by the Anadolu news agency.

He added that 1,200 foreigners from 78 countries, including 16 from the US had been deported from Turkey, after attempting to travel into Isis controlled territory.

The remarks come weeks after three British schoolgirls travelled through the country to join Isis in Syria.

Earlier in March, three male teenagers aged 17-19 were stopped in Istanbul, allegedly travelling to join Isis.

Under pressure from the US, Turkey has stepped up patrols along its border with Syria and tightened up its checks on people entering and leaving the country.

Turkish authorities have criticised British security services for failing to prevent the teenagers travelling to Syria.

Cicek said that Turkey had closed eight of its border gates with Syria, and another five remained open.

He said Isis would never be uprooted in Syria unless president Bashar al Assad was ousted.

"The international community needs to condemn all terror groups without making any exception including PKK or Daesh," he said.