ANKARA: Turkey had seized 80 million liters of oil from oil fields and smuggled from Islamic State controlled territory to Turkey, Foreign Minister Mouloud Ihsanoglu announced.
Ihsanoglu spokes during first official visit to Tehran, that “nearly 80 million liters of smuggled oil were confiscated” since the beginning of the year adding that adding that several oil pipelines build by IS militants were discovered and destroyed by Turkish authorities.
Ihsanoglu categorically denied claims that Ankara had bought a portion of oil from IS, pointing out that such charges had been made as part of psychological warfare against Turkey.
Iraqi finance minister Hoshyar Zebari told al-Jazeera on Friday that the Islamic State” controls a number of oilfields in Syria and Iraq and they smuggle this oil overland through trucks, through middlemen to Turkey or towards other countries.”
According to a United Nations report and an article written by Buzzfeed, both published in November, Turkey has been a key country for smuggling oil, as well as a key market for the oil.
“Before, now, and in the future, IS is smuggling oil into Turkey,” one of the businessmen involved told Buzzfeed. “And the border guards close their eyes.”
“You can’t really say that we are smuggling oil, because we take permission from the Turkish side and the Syrian side,” another smuggler told Buzzfeed. “But since it’s under the table, we call it smuggling.”
Ihsanoglu also denied that Ankara has facilitated the transfer of foreign jihadists across its territory into Syria and Iraq to fight with the Islamic State.
Ihsanoglu added that “more than seven thousand people were prevented from leaving Turkey and many more were expelled.”
Turkey has long dismissed allegations that it has failed to secure its long border with Syria, allowing jihadists from IS and other groups free rein to cross.