Posted December 01, 2015 19:29:01

Oil infrastructure hit by bomb Photo: Aerial footage appearing to show rows of trucks near the Turkish-Syrian border becoming blown up surfaced in November. (AFP/Russian Defence Ministry)

A war of words has broken out amongst Russia and Turkey more than accusations that Turkey is buying oil smuggled by Islamic State (IS).

Essential points:

  • US Treasury official says Islamic State brings in $ 500 million per year in oil revenue
  • Safety analyst says there is massive black marketplace for IS oil in the West
  • Former Iraqi MP backs up claims by Turkish opposition MP that IS smuggled $ 800 million worth of oil into Turkey from Syria and Iraq

Russian president Vladimir Putin has accused Turkey of shooting down a Russian warplane last week out of a desire to shield these oil supply lines.

“At the moment we have received extra information confirming that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on an industrial scale,” he mentioned on the sidelines of the climate adjust summit in Paris.

“We have every single reason to think that the decision to down our plane was guided by a wish to make sure security of this oil’s delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers.”

Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan has attacked the claims as slander, and stated if there was proof that Turkey was co-operating with IS he would resign.

“We are not that dishonest as to acquire oil from terrorists. If it is confirmed that we have, in truth, done so, I will leave workplace,” he was quoted by Russia’s TASS news agency as saying.

“If there is any evidence, let them present it, we’ll take into account [it].”

So is there evidence Turkey is getting oil smuggled by IS?

It is no secret that IS rakes in a fortune from oil fields it now controls in Syria and Iraq. A US treasury official recently told a security conference in Aspen that IS brought in $ 500 million a year in oil revenues.

“Earlier this year [IS] made about $ 40 million in 1 month off of the sale of oil. So if you want to extrapolate that out, you can get to about $ 500 million in the course of a year, and this is all internally generated,” David Glaser, assistant secretary of the US treasury for terrorist financing, stated.

Safety analysts say Western black marketplace exists for IS oil

In September 2015, IS seized the last significant oilfield beneath Syrian government manage in a desert area north-west of the ancient city of Palymra and a area that holds Syria’s major all-natural gas fields and multi-million dollar extraction facilities.

Since taking manage of crucial locations of Syria and Iraq last year, IS has developed an illicit trade in oil sales.

Buyers are readily located in the West and tanker trucks are permitted to attain ports where oil tankers are waiting to load it.

Dr Norman Bailey, Haifa University’s Centre for National Security Studies and Geostrategy

Several safety analysts believe there is a large black industry for IS oil in the West.

“Islamic State’s barbaric conquests are financed by collaborators among the business and monetary circles of the West,” wrote Dr Norman Bailey, of the Centre for National Safety Studies and Geostrategy at Haifa University in Israel.

“Purchasers are readily found in the West and tanker trucks are permitted to attain ports where oil tankers are waiting to load it.

“All this requires prepared, willing and in a position collaborators among the company and financial circles of the West as well as surrounding nations.”

Dr Bailey was reluctant to name the ports or countries involved.

“This is not the place to name names, but the buyers and the facilitators and the financiers are not that hard to identify, so that if the opponents of Islamic State were really serious about carrying out anything about it, along with the occasional bombing raid, the IS could be starved of funds,” he wrote.

Turkish opposition politician claimed IS smuggled $ 800m of oil

In June 2014, a member of Turkey’s parliamentary opposition, Ali Edibogluan, claimed that IS had smuggled $ 800 million worth of oil into Turkey from Syria and Iraq, according to the Al Monitor web site.

He cited oil fields at Rumaila in northern Syria and other folks near Mosul in Iraq, saying that IS had laid pipes enabling it to “transfer the oil to Turkey and parlay it into money”.

“Turkey’s cooperation with thousands of guys of such a mentality is extremely dangerous,” he stated, according to the Al Monitor report.

Cash and dollars generated by selling Iraqi and Syrian oil on the Turkish black industry is like the oxygen supply to [Islamic State] and its operation.

Mowaffak al Rubaie, Iraqi MP

“Comparable pipes exist also at [the Turkish border regions of] Kilis, Urfa and Gaziantep … they take the oil from the refineries at zero expense.

“Using primitive signifies, they refine the oil in locations close to the Turkish border and then sell it by way of Turkey.”

Now, a former Iraqi member of parliament claims Turkey has backed up those claims.

“In the final eight months [IS] has managed to sell what is $ 800 million worth of oil in the black market place of Turkey. This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, and these are carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria, by way of the borders to Turkey and sold … [at] less than 50 per cent of the international oil price tag,” Mowaffak al Rubaie said in an interview with the Russian channel RT.

“It has often been sold in the area of $ 21-22 for the barrel.

“Now this either gets consumed inside, the crude is refined on Turkish territory by the Turkish refineries, and sold in the Turkish market place. Or it goes to Jihan and then in the pipelines from Jihan to the Mediterranean and sold to the international market.

“Funds and dollars generated by promoting Iraqi and Syrian oil on the Turkish black market is like the oxygen supply to [IS] and its operation.

“After you cut the oxygen then [IS] will suffocate.”

‘No shadow of a doubt’ Turkey knew about smuggling

The former Iraqi MP mentioned there was “no shadow of a doubt” that the Turkish government knew about the smuggling operations.

“The merchants, the businessmen [are getting oil] in the black marketplace in Turkey below the noses, beneath the auspices if you like, of the Turkish intelligence agency and the Turkish safety apparatus,” he told RT.

Mr Rubaie also accused Turkey of offering health-related remedy to IS terrorists in Turkish hospitals along the border with Syria and even in “Istanbul itself”.

Day and night they are going to Turkey. Trucks always go there loaded, and back from there — empty.

Russian president Vladimir Putin

“There are safety officers who are sympathising with [IS] in Turkey,” he stated.

“They are enabling them to go from Istanbul to the borders and infiltrate … Syria and Iraq.

“There is no terrorist organisation which can stand alone, without a neighbouring nation helping it — in this case Turkey.”

The Iraqi politician urged Turkey to come clean and join the international efforts to destroy IS.

Vladimir Putin meets Tayyip Erdogan Photo: Turkish president Tayyiip Erdogan (L) has labelled Russian president Vladimir Putin’s accusations as “slander”. (Reuters: Ivan Sekretarev, file photo)

The Russian news outlet said Mr Putin himself noted that it was “hard to think, but is theoretically feasible” that the Turkish leadership knew practically nothing about oil flowing into Turkey illegally.

“Cars, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon,” Mr Putin reportedly mentioned as he compared the views noticed by Russian pilots and drones to a “living oil pipe” stretching from IS and rebel-controlled locations in Syria into Turkey.

“Day and night they are going to Turkey. Trucks usually go there loaded, and back from there — empty.”

The RT site has photographs that appear to show aerial photographs of rows of trucks close to the Turkish-Syrian border.

Turkey’s president Mr Erdogan has called claims that Turkey buys oil from IS “slander”.

“I will say anything very powerful right here. If such a factor is confirmed, the nobility of our nation would require that I would not keep in office,” he stated.

“The countries from which Turkey buys oil are effectively identified.”

Russia has imposed a series of financial and trade sanctions against Turkey in retaliation to the choice to shoot down the Russian war plane.

Subjects: terrorism, oil-and-gas, globe-politics, unrest-conflict-and-war, syrian-arab-republic, turkey, russian-federation, iraq

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