Turkey’s Byzantine machinations with people trafficking for Europe, oil trading for ISIS

Turkey (and Erdogan and his family) are living up to my perceptions of supreme Byzantine duplicity. They are involved in a particularly dirty game of complex intrigue and unprincipled double dealing in Syria.

The EU is going to pay Turkey some €3 billion to control the flow of refugees to Europe and for housing refugees in Turkey. The better the control that can be shown the greater the payment by the EU. Now Turkey has a mechanism in place to earn money from people trafficking. There is real financial benefit to show more coming in to Turkey across the border with Syria and to show that less of them are leaving for Europe. Moreover Turkish citizens now have visa-free travel to Europe. The fault lines in Europe are easy to exploit and Turkey is running rings around the EU.

Henry Barkey in Carnegie EuropeThat Europe is selling out to Turkey is perfectly understandable in this light. But many in Europe will perceive as excessive the deal reached by Brussels and Ankara on November 29: money, visa-free travel arrangements for Turkish citizens, and the opening of a chapter of Turkey’s EU accession process in exchange for better management of the refugees and steps to prevent them from reaching Europe.

The EU is coming out as naive and gullible and complicit in Turkey’s people trafficking games.

But far more damaging are the Russian allegations of the involvement of Turkey, and more specifically of the President’s son, Bilal Erdogan, in the trading of ISIS oil.

BBCRussia’s defence ministry has accused the family of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being directly involved in the trade of petroleum with the Islamic State group.

Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said Turkey was the biggest buyer of “stolen” oil from Syria and Iraq.

The Russians are getting very detailed about the involvement of Bilal Erdogan in profiteering from ISIS oil and even about Erdogan’s daughter providing aid and comfort to wounded ISIS fighters

MintPressNews: …….. Others reaffirmed Lavrov’s stance, such as retired French General Dominique Trinquand, who said that “Turkey is either not fighting ISIL at all or very little, and does not interfere with different types of smuggling that takes place on its border, be it oil, phosphate, cotton or people,” he said.

……. And while we patiently dig to find who the on and offshore “commodity trading” middleman are, who cart away ISIS oil to European and other international markets in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars, one name keeps popping up as the primary culprit of regional demand for the Islamic State’s “terrorist oil” – that of Turkish president Recep Erdogan’s son: Bilal Erdogan.

Byzantine Empire in 650 AD Wikipedia

William Engdahl writes in New Eastern Outlook:

More and more details are coming to light revealing that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, variously known as ISIS, IS or Daesh, is being fed and kept alive by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish President and by his Turkish intelligence service, including MIT, the Turkish CIA. Turkey, as a result of Erdoğan’s pursuit of what some call a Neo-Ottoman Empire fantasies that stretch all the way to China, Syria and Iraq, threatens not only to destroy Turkey but much of the Middle East if he continues on his present path.

In October 2014 US Vice President Joe Biden told a Harvard gathering that Erdoğan’s regime was backing ISIS with “hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons…” Biden later apologized clearly for tactical reasons to get Erdoğan’s permission to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base for airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, but the dimensions of Erdoğan’s backing for ISIS since revealed is far, far more than Biden hinted. …..

The prime source of money feeding ISIS these days is sale of Iraqi oil from the Mosul region oilfields where they maintain a stronghold. The son of Erdoğan it seems is the man who makes the export sales of ISIS-controlled oil possible.

Bilal Erdoğan owns several maritime companies. He has allegedly signed contracts with European operating companies to carry Iraqi stolen oil to different Asian countries. The Turkish government buys Iraqi plundered oil which is being produced from the Iraqi seized oil wells. Bilal Erdoğan’s maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports that are transporting ISIS’ smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers. ….

… In addition to son Bilal’s illegal and lucrative oil trading for ISIS, Sümeyye Erdoğan, the daughter of the Turkish President apparently runs a secret hospital camp inside Turkey just over the Syrian border where Turkish army trucks daily being in scores of wounded ISIS Jihadists to be patched up and sent back to wage the bloody Jihad in Syria, according to the testimony of a nurse who was recruited to work there until it was discovered she was a member of the Alawite branch of Islam, the same as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who Erdoğan seems hell-bent on toppling. …….. 

I note that though Turkey is part of the US coalition, they have only attacked Kurdish fighters in their strikes in Syria. And now they have also shot down a Russian fighter which was threatening their oil from Da’esh. I am left with the perception that Turkey’s priority is overwhelmingly the suppression of the Kurds. Anything is acceptable to prevent a Kurdistan getting off the ground (let alone a greater Kurdistan). The second priority is to stir the conflict to make it as lucrative as possible for Turkey and its ruling families. Getting rid of Assad is also on their list, but not at the price of advancing the Kurds. If Da’esh (ISIS) is to take over from Assad and curb the Kurds, then that is perfectly acceptable. To fight Da’esh is not even explicitly on their list as an objective.

Why Barack Obama and John Kerry put up with the Turkish duplicity is not clear to me. That Turkey is a member of a belligerent and expansionist NATO (What has Turkey to do with the North Atlantic? and now Macedonia?), may provide some explanation. But recalling the way in which Biden changed his tune suggests that US “principles” are fairly flexible here. Unless Turkey’s protection of the flow of funds to Da’esh is stopped, no strategy to eliminate them can succeed. (Of course to stop the “idea” of Da’esh, requires that Saudi Arabia stop playing games). Now with Raqqa under attack it seems Turkey is also complicit in allowing Da’esh members to escape to Libya to set up an alternative “safe zone”.  Such a Turkey as a member of the EU and as its first majority Muslim country is almost frightening.

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