MS Risk Blog

Israeli Defense Minister Accuses Turkey of Purchasing IS Oil

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Israel’s defense minister has accused Turkey of purchasing oil from the so-called Islamic State (IS) group, thereby funding the militants’ activities.

Speaking in Athens, Greece, Moshe Yaalon disclosed that IS had “enjoyed Turkish money for oil for a very, very long period of time.” Speaking to reporters after a meeting with his Greek counterpart, Mr Yaalon further disclosed that “its up to Turkey, the Turkish government, the Turkish leadership, to decide whether they want to be part of any kind of cooperation to fight terrorism,” adding, “this is not the case so far. As you know, Daesh (Islamic State) enjoyed Turkish money for oil for a very, very long period of time. I hope that it will be ended.” Mr Yaalon also alleged that Turkey had “permitted jihadists to move from Europe to Syria and Iraq and and back.”

Turkey has denied allowing IS smuggling. Recently, the United States also rejected Russian claims that Turkish government officials were in league with the militants. While last month, US State Department officials rejected Russian allegations of Turkish government involvement, a state department spokesman did disclose that IS oil was being smuggled into Turkey via middlemen.

Efforts by Israel and Turkey to repair damaged ties already hit a set back earlier this month over demands for compensation for the deaths of ten Turkish activists on a ship that was carrying pro-Palestinian activists in 2010. They were killed in clashes with Israeli commandos who intercepted a flotilla that was trying to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza. In December, senior Israeli and Turkish officials met in a bid to try to repair relations, raising hopes of progress in negotiations to import Israeli natural gas.

IS has captured swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, which includes operating oil fields that are now under the militant group’s control.

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