Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Israel accuses Turkey of buying ISIS oil. Reuters.

Israeli Defense Minster Moshe Ya'alon. Reuters. 

Israeli Defense Minster Moshe Ya'alon has accused Turkey of buying ISIS oil. Reuters. He also accused Turkey of funding the terrorist group and claimed that Turkey's actions hurt relations between the two countries. Last month Russia made the similar claims and said that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's family was involved in the oil smuggling. The United States claims that the accusations are false. Ya'alon also claimed that Turkey was complicit in allowing thousands of militants to enter Syria and join ISIS and other militant groups. Turkish and Israeli relations have been poor since 2010 after the death of 10 Turkish activists trying to break the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

My Comment:
This isn't really new news because Russia made similar accusations in the past. They basically said the same thing that Israel is saying right now. In Turkey's defense (and it is rare that I will ever offer up anything in their defense!), both Israel and Russia have a very good reason to be biased against Turkey. Israel had that incident in 2010 and Russia had multiple border incidents since their intervention in Syria. Neither country can be counted on to be truthful when it comes to Turkey.

Still, since I am biased against Turkey as well, I tend to believe the accusations. Even if I wasn't though it is clear that Turkey has been playing fast and loose during the Syria conflict. I think that the case that the Turks are buying oil on the cheap from ISIS is at the very least plausible, and more likely completely true. Someone has to be buying that oil. ISIS is probably selling the oil at a significantly lower price then the international markets. Even though oil prices are low right now, Turkey could still save and make money with this oil. 

Of course Turkey isn't the only country in the area to buy oil cheap from ISIS. Syria itself is guilty of the same thing and there are probably other countries that end up with the oil as well. I have even heard that Israel is buying some of it as well. Given everything that is said about Israel I have no idea if that is true or not. It's just as likely that someone made it up just to make Israel look bad, but I would believe either outcome. Cheap oil is a hell of a temptation.

I think the accusation that Turkey is allowing militants to cross their borders is a much more serious accusation. It's quite obviously true that Turkey is the main pipeline for militants entering Syria to join ISIS or al-Nusra. The question isn't whether that is true or not, but how involved Turkey is in the smuggling. 

I am not really all that sure. Turkey has the means and the motive to help ISIS. Obviously, they could help any militants that want to cross the border. Such a thing would be easy to accomplish. But why would they do it? Well for one thing they hate both the government of Bashar al-Assad and the Kurds. Right now ISIS is focused on fighting both. Though ISIS is a major terrorist organization that has targeted Turkey in the past, they have still done far more damage to Assad and the Kurds.

But would Turkey really help ISIS if it means hurting their enemies? I think so. Turkey is in a major war with the Kurds and they consider an independent Kurdistan an existential threat. The last thing they want is a safe haven for the Kurds to launch attacks into Turkey. Indeed, their war against ISIS has mostly been a cover to renew their attacks against Kurdish fighters. 

I have said in the past that Turkey is a poor ally. At the very least they are not doing as much as they could in the fight against ISIS. At the worst, they are buying oil from our enemies and allowing them to receive reinforcements. That, along with their deteriorating level of civil rights and their poor treatment of journalists makes them unsuitable as a NATO ally...

No comments:

Post a Comment