France's body politic is up in arms after three suspected French jihadis who had traveled to Syria were sent home by police in Turkey without French police knowing about it.

Adding to officials' discomfort, French authorities initially said the three men were apprehended at Paris' Orly airport — only to announce later that the suspects had flown to Marseille, passed through a passport check and customs and walked away free.

Lawyers for the three men said Wednesday they were not on the run and available for police questions. One is the former brother-in-law of a slain extremist who led a terrorist killing spree in southern France two years ago.

Speaking on France-Info radio, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian decried a "huge foul-up" due largely to flawed collaboration with Turkish authorities.