Tu-22 MZ strategic bombers of Russia's Aerospace Defense Forces set to hit ISIS targets in Syria © Ministry of defence of the Russian Federation / Sputnik
The Russian Defense Ministry is giving a major media briefing to outline measures to combat international terrorism. The military operation in Syria is expected to dominate the event. (Live Updates by RT)
02 December 2015
Mufti Ravil Gainutdin, the head of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Russia and the Russian Council of Muftis, has called for calm in the assessment of Russian-Turkish relations, and said he has instructed the employees of both organizations to refrain from sharp comments on the relationship between the two countries.
"We are religious figures who are of no relation to politics," the mufti said.
"We believe that today we all need to calm down, be rational and think of people's well-being. But we think that we have not passed the point of no return as of yet. A compromise can still be found - negotiations and diplomacy can help settle any conflict,” he added.
Watch the full video of the Defense Ministry briefing:
Responding to the Russian allegations, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that nobody had a right to “slander” Turkey by accusing it of buying oil from Islamic State.
Speaking at a university in the Qatar’s capital of Doha on Wednesday, Erdogan once again claimed that he would resign if such accusations were proven to be true and stressed he did not want Turkey’s relations with Russia to deteriorate further.
The photos and footage used in the media briefing have been published on the Defense Ministry’s website.
Russia is to provide evidence of Turkey’s role in training, arming and smuggling foreign fighters into Syria next week.
Footage of a Russian airstrike on an oil storage facility controlled by IS has been provided by the Defense Ministry.
Russia doesn’t expect Turkish President Erdogan to resign in the face of the new evidence, even though he had promised to do so. His resignation is not Russia’s goal and is a matter for the Turkish people.
Russia cannot comprehend that such a large-scale business as oil smuggling could not have been noticed by the Turkish authorities. Russia concludes that the Turkish leadership is directly involved in the smuggling.
The US-led coalition has failed to intensify strikes on oil tankers and other IS oil infrastructure. Russia will send intelligence on potential targets to coalition members, assuming that a lack of intelligence may be the reason for their hesitance.
Russia, for its part, will continue attacking the oil business of the terrorists and expects the US-led coalition to do the same.
2,000 fighters, 250 vehicles and over 120 tons of ammo have been sent in the past weeks from Turkey to terrorists in Syria, fuelling the violence in the country.
At least 8,500 oil tankers are used by the terrorists to transport up to 200,000 barrels of stolen oil, according to Russian estimates.
Two other smuggling routes go to Batman refineries from northern Syria and to Cizre hub from Iraq respectively.
Three main routes of oil smuggling to Turkey have been established. One goes to Turkish ports Dortyol and Iskanderun on the Mediterranean coast, where the oil is shipped to other nations.
The Defense Ministry showed aerial footage of oil tankers. The vehicles were said to be travelling across the Syrian-Turkish border in their hundreds.
Cutting the flow of oil is a necessary condition for defeating IS. Russia is conducting airstrikes on oil pumps, refineries, transport tankers and other parts of the oil infrastructure. The strikes have resulted in the loss of half of all oil smuggled by the terrorists.
Turkey is the main buyer of oil smuggled by terrorists in Syria and family members of Turkish President Recept Erdogan are involved.
The Russian Defense Ministry is giving a media briefing, during which it will present evidence of sponsorship of international terrorism. Three senior military officials are taking part: Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov, Deputy Chief of Operations Sergey Rudskoy, Chief of National Military Control Center Mikhail Mizintsev.
Yes, Turkey IS Buying Oil from ISIS
In response to Russia’s accusation that Turkey is buying oil from ISIS, the Turkish president said that – if that is proven to be true – he’ll resign.
It turns out that Turkey is buying oil from ISIS.
The Guardian reported this summer:
US special forces raided the compound of an Islamic State leader in eastern Syria in May, they made sure not to tell the neighbours.
The target of that raid, the first of its kind since US jets returned to the skies over Iraq last August, was an Isis official responsible for oil smuggling, named Abu Sayyaf. He was almost unheard of outside the upper echelons of the terror group, but he was well known to Turkey. From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.
As a result, the oil trade between the jihadis and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two.
In the wake of the raid that killed Abu Sayyaf, suspicions of an undeclared alliance have hardened. One senior western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at the slain leader’s compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking Isis members was now “undeniable”.
ABC news Australia points out today:
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 website.
He cited oil fields at Rumaila in northern Syria and others near Mosul in Iraq, saying that IS had laid pipes allowing it to “transfer the oil to Turkey and parlay it into cash”.
“Turkey’s cooperation with thousands of men of such a mentality is extremely dangerous,” he said, according to the Al Monitor report.
“Similar pipes exist also at [the Turkish border regions of] Kilis, Urfa and Gaziantep … they take the oil from the refineries at zero cost.
“Using primitive means, they refine the oil in areas close to the Turkish border and then sell it via Turkey.”
Now, a former Iraqi member of parliament has backed up those claims.
“In the last eight months [IS] has managed to sell what is $800 million worth of oil in the black market of Turkey. This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, and these are carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria, through the borders to Turkey and sold … [at] less than 50 per cent of the international oil price,” Mowaffak al Rubaie said in an interview with the Russian channel RT.
“It has always been sold in the region 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. Or it goes to Jihan and then in the pipelines from Jihan to the Mediterranean and sold to the international market.
“Money and dollars generated by selling Iraqi and Syrian oil on the Turkish black market is like the oxygen supply to [IS] and its operation.
“Once you cut the oxygen then [IS] will suffocate.”
The former Iraqi MP said there was “no shadow of a doubt” that the Turkish government knew about the smuggling operations.
“The merchants, the businessmen [are buying oil] in the black market in Turkey under the noses, under the auspices if you like, of the Turkish intelligence agency and the Turkish security apparatus” ….
A statistical analysis performed by George Kiourktsoglou, Visiting Lecturer, University of Greenwich, London and Dr. Alec D. Coutroubis, Principal Lecturer, University of Greenwich, London, determined that:
It seems that whenever the Islamic State is fighting in the vicinity of an area hosting oil assets, the 13 exports from [the Turkish state-owned oil refinery at] Ceyhan promptly spike. This may be attributed to an extra boost given to crude oil smuggling with the aim of immediately generating additional funds, badly needed for the supply of ammunition and military equipment.
Kurdish Daily News reported in March:
Sadik Al Hiseni, the head of the security committee in the city of Diyala in Iraq, says they have arrested several Turkish tankers trying to take ISIS oil out of the province of Salahuddin.
Buzzfeed noted last year:
Other sources involved in smuggling Syrian oil into Turkey said that it continued elsewhere along the border on a far greater scale. This testimony — from smugglers and businessmen who have done it themselves — provides a rare look behind the curtain of the trade that has helped make ISIS the world’s richest extremists. “Before, now, and in the future, ISIS is smuggling oil into Turkey,” said one of the businessmen involved, who spoke on the condition that he not be named. “And the border guards close their eyes.”
Aerial photographs taken by Russia allegedly show giant convoys of trucks going from ISIS-controlled oil territory in Syria to Turkey:
4-Star General Wesley Clark – who served as the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO – said last week:
Someone’s buying that oil that ISIS is selling, it’s going through somewhere, it looks to me like it’s probably going through Turkey ….
Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights notes:
• On September 13, 2014, The New York Times reported on the Obama administration’s efforts to pressure Turkey to crack down on ISIS extensive sales network for oil. James Phillips, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, argues that Turkey has not fully cracked down on ISIS’s sales network because it benefits from a lower price for oil, and that there might even be Turks and government officials who benefit from the trade.
• Fehim Tatekin wrote in Radikal on September 13, 2014 about illegal pipelines transporting oil from Syria to nearby border towns in Turkey. The oil is sold for as little as 1.25 liras per liter. Tatekin indicated that many of these illegal pipelines were dismantled after operating for 3 years, once his article was published.
• According to Diken and OdaTV, David Cohen, a Justice Department official, says that there are Turkish individuals acting as middlemen to help sell ISIS’s oil through Turkey.
• On October 14, 2014, a German Parliamentarian from the Green Party accused Turkey of allowing the transportation of arms to ISIS over its territory, as well as the sale of oil.
Will the Turkish president keep his word and resign?
Lavrov: Greeks pilots show great self-restraint
He met with Cypriot President and discussed the economic relations between Cyprus and Russia
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov referred to the great self-restraint that Greeks pilots show towards the violation of Greek airspace by Turkish jets.
“I will repeat what Alexis Tsipras said and I fully support it, that Greek pilots show great self-restraint towards the violation of Greek airspace by Turkish jets,” he stated on Wednesday noon during his visit at Cyprus, Nicosia.
According to information, the talks between Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Mr. Lavrov were focused on the Cyprus issue, regional and bilateral relations including economy and energy, as well as the relations between European Union and Russia. They also discussed the role of Cyprus in the energy sector, as well as the economic relations between Cyprus and Russia. The meeting between the two men was described as excellent.
As government sources in Nicosia sad, Mr. Lavrov has an excellent knowledge of the Cyprus issue and he was clearly in favor of abolishing the guarantees. He also thanked Nicosia for its statement and attitude regarding the downing of the Russian jet by Turkish F-16.
Earlier this week:
Greek Prime Minister Blasts Turkey on Twitter Over Russian Plane Downing
A strange and belated Twitter outburst took place on Sunday when Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras blasted his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoglu, in a series of four Tweets on his official English Twitter page about Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet last week.
Tsipras’ official English language account posted four successive tweets, criticizing Turkey and mocking Turkey’s trigger happy approach. “Fortunately our pilots are not mercurial as yours against the Russians,” one of the Tweets stated.
The Tweets were quickly deleted but with all things on line, not before screenshots could be saved and images of them retweeted and shared throughout the world.
Tsipras, however, kept the tweets on his official Greek-language twitter page.
1/4 Προς τον πρωθυπουργό Νταβούτογλου: Ευτυχώς οι πιλότοι μας δεν είναι τόσο νευρικοί όσο οι δικοί σας απέναντι στους Ρώσους. #EUTurkey— a.tsipras (@atsipras) Νοέμβριος 29, 2015
2/4 Είναι ανόητο και αδιανόητο αυτό που συμβαίνει στο Αιγαίο.#EUTurkey— a.tsipras (@atsipras) Νοέμβριος 29, 2015
3/4 Ξοδεύουμε δισ. για εξοπλισμούς. Εσείς για να παραβιάζετε, εμείς για να σας αναχαιτίζουμε. #EUTurkey— a.tsipras (@atsipras) Νοέμβριος 29, 2015
4/4 Έχουμε τα πιο σύγχρονα οπλικά συστήματα στον αέρα και από κάτω δεν μπορούμε να εντοπίσουμε τους διακινητές που πνίγουν αθώους ανθρώπους.— a.tsipras (@atsipras) Νοέμβριος 29, 2015
Turkish weapons ‘heading to end in ISIS hands’: RT speaks to Cumhuriyet journalists
Police use tear-inducing agent against demonstrators during a protest over the arrest of journalists Can Dundar and Erdem Gul in Ankara, Turkey, November 27, 2015 © Umit Bektas
Journalists from one of few remaining independent newspapers in Turkey, Cumhuriyet, whose editors were recently, arrested, have spoken to RT from their Istanbul office, sharing what they know about Turkey's alleged connections with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
An RT crew visited the newspaper's office in Istanbul, and were allowed to talk with its reporters, while hundreds of people gathered outside the media office to protest against the authorities' decision to arrest Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dundar, and senior editor of the paper in Ankara, Erdem Gul.
In addition to the news of the Cumhuriyet journalists' arrests, it was announced on Friday that another Turkish media worker, Daily Hurriyet columnist and former editor-in-chief Ertugrul Ozkok faces up to five years and four months in prison for "insulting" the Turkish president in an opinion piece published in September.
The indictment claimed Ozkok's writing following the tragic death of a Syrian refugee boy, whose body was washed ashore a Turkish beach, exceeded the limits of "acceptable criticism," Daily Hurriyet said.
With a Turkish prosecutor asking a court to imprison the Cumhuriyet journalists pending trial on charges of treason, espionage and terrorist propaganda, the mood in the office was tense and many refused to talk to RT on camera, but still wanted to be heard.
In May, the outlet which is considered to be the opponent of the government, published photos of weapons it said were then transferred to Syria by Turkey's intelligence agency.
Those who sent the convoy from Turkey knew that the weapons were "heading to end [up] in ISIS hands," one of the Cumhuriyet bosses told RT's Ilya Petrenko. "There was that flag that belongs to ISIS... [it could be seen] very clearly [from] Turkish border line," the journalist said.
Turkish officials made contradictory statements after the paper blew the whistle, first saying that the arms "were going to the Free Syrian Army," then denying the delivery altogether, and then saying the "aid was destined for the Turkmen."
"When you ask [the government] who [the Turkmen] are, they tell you that those are our guys," another Cumhuriyet journalist told RT. But when the reporter "personally talked" to the fighters supported by her government in Syria, she said she didn't see how they could be different from the terrorists, saying "they were all brothers."
"[There is] no difference between ISIS and the other guys. I think there is a problem with the labels here, because all the world is focused on ISIS, but there are other jihadist groups there, and they have links with Al-Nusra or ISIS, [while] Turkey says 'we are helping that groups – not ISIS'," the Turkish journalist added.
"ISIS is smuggling oil to Turkey and through Turkey... it's kind of common knowledge by now. But the big question is [whether] it's possible that they are doing it without the government's knowledge or some authority's knowledge," one of Cumhuriyet's employees told RT.
‘Oxygen for jihadists’: ISIS-smuggled oil flows through Turkey to intl markets – Iraqi MP
‘ISIS managed to sell oil to Turkey on black market at less than 50% of global prices’ – Iraqi MP
Terrorist group Islamic State earns millions of dollars selling oil on the black market in Turkey, Iraqi MP and former national security adviser, Mowaffak al Rubaie told RT. He also revealed that wounded terrorists are being treated in Turkish hospitals.
“In the last eight months ISIS has managed to sell ... $800 million dollars worth of oil on the black market of Turkey. This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold ...[at] less than 50 percent of the international oil price,” Mowaffak al Rubaie said in an interview with RT.
“Now this either get consumed inside, the crude is refined on Turkish territory by the Turkish refineries, and sold in the Turkish market. Or it goes to Jihan and then in the pipelines from Jihan to the Mediterranean and sold to the international market.”
“Money and dollars generated by selling Iraqi and Syrian oil on the Turkish black market is like the oxygen supply to ISIS and it’s operation,” he added. “Once you cut the oxygen then ISIS will suffocate.”
The Iraqi MP said there is “no shadow of a doubt” that the Turkish government knows about the oil smuggling operations. “The merchants, the businessmen [are buying oil] in the black market in Turkey under the noses – under the auspices if you like – of the Turkish intelligence agency and the Turkish security apparatus,” he said.
Citing Iraqi intelligence services, Mowaffak al Rubaie also accused Turkey of providing medical treatment to terrorists in hospitals along the border and at times even in “Istanbul itself.”
“There are security officers who are sympathizing with ISIS in Turkey,” the Iraqi politician believes. “They are allowing them to go from Istanbul to the borders and infiltrate ... Syria and Iraq.”
“There is no terrorist organization which can stand alone, without a neighboring country helping it – in this case Turkey,” Rubaie said, urging Ankara to come clean and join the international efforts to destroy the terror group.
Russia considers ISIS oil smuggling operations to be one of the highest priority targets in crippling the terror group’s finances and capabilities. Moscow has long been requesting that Ankara properly addresses reports of its alleged involvement with ISIS oil smuggling.
President Putin himself noted that it was “hard to believe, but it is theoretically possible” that the Turkish leadership knows nothing about oil flowing into Turkey illegally. However he noted that the operations are too daring and obvious to ignore.
“Vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon,” said Putin, comparing the views seen by Russian pilots and drones to a “living oil pipe” stretched from ISIS and rebel controlled areas of Syria into Turkey. “Day and night they are going to Turkey. Trucks always go there loaded, and back from there – empty,” Putin said earlier this week.
Sources: RT.com(1,2,3), Zerohedge.com, Pappaspost.com, Protothema.gr
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