Turkey has ‘serious questions’ to answer: Reactions to RT report on post-ISIS town in Syria
The stream of accusations is growing against Ankara over illegal oil trade and support of Islamic State, with politicians and experts calling for Turkey to be held accountable for its actions after a new batch of evidence gathered by RT.
Former UK ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, has described as “very convincing” a report aired by RT which features piles of oil accounting papers left behind by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) fighters.
“There was plenty of evidence even before these latest – very damning – revelations that Turkey was up to its neck in support for collaboration with Islamic State,” he said.
According to Ford, the “obsession” of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with removing from power his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, and preventing the strengthening of the Kurds in Syria saw Turkey become eager “to stop at nothing, including collaboration with Islamic State terrorists,” Ford stressed.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that if Turkey had sincerely tried to put an end to the activities of Islamic State it could well have gone slow and we wouldn’t perhaps even be having this latest atrocity in Brussels,” the former ambassador stressed.
On Tuesday, 31 people died in the Belgian capital in suicide bomb attacks at the airport and subway. The attacks were later claimed by IS.
Lord Peter Truscott, a life peer in the UK’s House of Lords, stressed that Ankara has “serious questions” to answer following the revelations by RT.
“RT's report highlights some alarming evidence that Turkey is buying oil from Daesh [Arabic pejorative term for IS], and is either supporting or turning a blind eye to terrorists crossing its border into Syria. If this is the case, Turkey needs to stop aiding Daesh in its murderous activities,” Lord Truscott stressed.
Matthew Gordon-Banks, a former Senior Research Fellow at the UK Defense Academy and former British MP, told RT in an emailed response that “there is no doubt that Turkey has helped ISIS gain huge revenues in the recent past from illegally selling oil.”
Gordon-Banks also praised Russia’s recent military operation in Syria, saying that it had largely cut IS supply lines, hitting them both economically as well as militarily.Bernard Monot, a French member of the European Parliament, has slammed Ankara for the double game it’s playing with Europe.
“On the one had they play along with us in order to get financial assistance from the European Union, but on the other – there is a feeling that they are in talks with IS… there is a feeling that this ‘caliphate’ is working closely with the Turkish president,” Monot told RT.
The joint ventures of Erdogan and Islamic State may include “illicit trade in oil and, of course, training camps, which may be on the Turkish territory,” the National Front Party member said.
As for plans to include Turkey into the European Union, Monot stressed that the Turkish state “currently has nothing to do in the EU.”
Turkey has been actively engaged in the Syrian war since the outset, and has repeatedly denied that it is aiding IS. The claims have come from the Russian military, the Syrian authorities, the Kurds and other sources.
An RT Documentary crew has visited towns in northern Syria recently liberated from IS militants. There, the journalists obtained invoices detailing the large-scale illegal oil trade carried out by the terrorists, as well Islamist propaganda brochures printed in Turkey.
They interviewed an IS fighter, detained by the Kurds, who said that the group is selling oil to Turkey.
The RT crew also filmed passports of the deceased or escaped jihadists, many of which contained stamps issued at Turkish border checkpoints.