Defense ministry officials offered as proof of their accusations satellite images showing convoys of tankers being filled with oil inside territory held by Daesh and then crossing the Syrian border into Turkey. “Turkey is the main consumer of the oil stolen from its rightful owners, Syria and Iraq,” said Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Defense Minister. Mr. Antonov went on to state that President Erdogan and his family were not only allowing the illegal oil trade in Turkey, but actively profiting from it. The statement made by the defense ministry also alleged that, besides supporting the Islamic State oil trade, Turkey is providing arms and ammunition to Daesh and that it has been doing so for some time.
Erdogan has denied all claims that Turkey or he himself has anything to do with the smuggling of oil from territory held by Daesh. The Turkish government has said that it is taking measures to prevent fuel smuggling, but that all oil purchased and consumed in Turkey was sourced from legitimate suppliers. He has also challenged Russian officials to provide direct evidence to back up their allegations.
Relations between Russia and Turkey have been increasingly tense since the shooting down of a Russian warplane by the Turkish air force last week. Russia had previously accused Turkey of lending its support to the Islamic State, though this is the first time that a direct accusation of specific action has come forward.
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