ANKARA(Hurriyet Daily News) — The United States has categorically rejected Israeli claims that Turkey has been smuggling oil with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.
“We reject the premise that the Turkish government is in league with ISIL to smuggle oil. We have seen no evidence to support such an accusation. In fact, ISIL oil smuggling has decreased over time due to efforts of the Turks and other counter-ISIL coalition members to target oil extraction and transportation infrastructure,” U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass said in a written statement on January 28.
“Turkey continues to take steps to improve the security of its border with Syria, working with the United States and other international partners,” he added.
The smuggling claim was voiced by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon at a press conference he held with his Greek counterpart in Athens on January 26.
The same issue was raised during a daily briefing of U.S. State Department spokesperson Mark Toner on January 27.
“We’ve addressed this on multiple occasions. And I would also point – I don’t have the document in front of me, but we actually did a background briefing with a senior state department official who really walked through why this wasn’t a valid allegation or accusation to say that Turkey was actually smuggling ISIL or Daesh oil,” Toner said.
“It didn’t make, first of all, economic sense at all, but secondly, there was just no evidence to those allegations that there was some kind of high-level Turkish government involvement in some oil smuggling. That just – we just have not seen any inclination to that, any kind of sign of that,” he said, adding “So we disagree with that assessment.”