Speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations climate change summit in Paris this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that his country has intelligence showing Turkey has allowed the Islamic State group to transport oil across its border on an “industrial scale.”
“At the moment we have received additional information confirming that oil from the deposits controlled by Islamic State militants enters Turkish territory on industrial scale,” Putin said on Monday. “We have every reason to believe that the decision to down our plane was guided by a desire to ensure security of this oil’s delivery routes to ports where they are shipped in tankers.”
For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan disavowed the accusations and promised to resign his position if Russia could prove that the Turkish government was cooperating with the Islamic State group.
“We are not that dishonest as to buy oil from terrorists. If it is proven that we have, in fact, done so, I will leave office. If there is any evidence, let them present it, we’ll consider (it),” Erdogan declared.
It has long been understood that the Islamic State group is selling the oil they produce from the captured Syrian oilfields on the black market, often after it is transported by truck across the border into Turkey.
It is also no secret that Turkey has generally turned a blind eye to the Islamic State group, neither officially supporting them nor actively opposing them. Bear in mind that Turkey is a member of NATO, and ostensibly an ally of the United States.
This black market oil is estimated to bring in roughly $1 million per day in revenue for the burgeoning terrorist haven in Syria and Iraq.