Last time we saw how Russia is trying to show to the rest of the world that President Erdogan has a traffic of smuggled oil with ISIS. In the past, Russia was a fundamental oil exporter to Turkey, but since their relation deteriorated, Russia has been replaced with ISIS. Turkey has a desperate need of oil, while ISIS has a desperate need of cash, so the deal perfectly suits the necessities of both parts. Furthermore, we saw in the last post that the US denied all the Russian accusations. Nevertheless, it’s hard to believe that the US doesn’t know anything about the traffic, especially because of the satellite imagery, not to mention the fact that Allied air strikes sometimes hit the oil trucks (observer.com/2016/02/deal-with-the-devil-turkey-props-up-isis-by-buying-its-stolen-oil/).
Looking at more recent events, it’s noteworthy to consider a letter that the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN addressed to the Secretary General and the President of the Security Council. The letter is dated 29/01/2016 and is titled “Illegal trading in hydrocarbons by ISIL”.
It reports many facts accusing Turkey of a clear collaboration with ISIS, among which the most important are: the use of tankers from BMZ Group Denizcilik ve İnşaat A.Ş, owned by Bilal Erdogan, the son of the Turkish President, and other family members; the legalization of the crude in the Turkish territory, which then ends up in other parts of the world without being traceable; the donations from private individuals and Islamic organizations, especially from Gulf States and Turkey, which are a key source in providing assistance to fighters, not to mention the accounts they have opened at several major Turkish banks; the detection of three major Turkish banks doing money transferring transactions with ISIL linked groups; and last, but not least, the provision of weapons and ammunition to ISIL through parts of the Syrian border with Turkey and Iraq.
Dr Tugce Varol, strategic analyst working on Energy Security Policies of Russia, Turkey, Middle East and Central Asia thinks that even though the Western powers disregarded the first Russian accusations of Turkey at the end of last year, now many countries in the UN Security Council are considering them seriously. According to Dr Varol, the fact that Russia has decided to carry its accusations to the UN Security Council level is noteworthy, as it means that Russia wants to upgrade the Erdogan case international (www.huffingtonpost.com/aydoaean-vatanda/russian-letter-to-unsc-cl_b_9502784.html).