RT’s exclusive reports on ISIS oil, artifact smuggling: Reactions Live updates

Example of an Islamic State invoice specifying the quantity of oil sold.
RT’s exclusive reports implicating Ankara in Islamic State’s illegal oil trade and the smuggling of looted antiquities has not gone unnoticed, as pressure on Turkey mounts and demand for an international investigation rises.
  • 31 March 2016

    23:38 GMT

    Retired US Army Major General Paul E. Vallely believes that the documents revealed by RT, including invoices on billing information for transportation of oil into Turkey and on arm supplies, point to the fact that “Turkey has been very-very involved in supporting ISIL”.

    “There’s no doubt about that,” Vallely said, however pointing out that the “focus” of Turkey’s involvement in Syria “has been on the Kurds, not ISIL.”

    But despite the fact that Ankara’s ties with Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) are becoming more and more evident, Vallely believes the US is not planning to take any action.

    “The United States position is that they are not going to take any position on Turkey,” he noted.

  • 21:06 GMT

    European MP and deputy leader of Britain’s UKIP Party, Paul Nuttall, said that the “erratic” behavior of Ankara is a source increasing concerns.  

    “This ISIS trafficking of stolen relics through Turkey is not the first time they have turned a blind eye to fundraising activities by ISIS. Serious accusations have been levied at Turkey and these questions must be answered," he said.

    "This is yet a further damnation for [UK Prime Minister David] Cameron's dream of Turkey joining the EU. Let's make the sensible choice and leave the EU whilst we still have the chance," Nuttall told RT. 

  • 21:05 GMT

    Turkey has to provide the international community with explanations for lack of control of its borders with Syria, which is fighting against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Italian MEP, told RT.

    Ankara should “explain clearly how it was possible to have such links between traders and Daesh [Arabic name for IS] militants to push for commerce of artifacts that belong to the Syrian traditional and cultural heritage,” he stressed.

    Castaldo also called for a UN investigation of Turkish military campaign against Kurdish YPG militia, which has been one of the most effective forces fighting IS on the ground.

    Ankara’s claims that YPG fighters are terrorists is a “very dangerous judgment,” the MEP said.

  • 21:05 GMT

    European parliament member from Cyprus, Costas Mavrides, believes that RT’s reports and all other evidence of Ankara’s ties are still unlikely to prompt the EU change its stance on Turkey.

    In the European parliament there are “more voices… that are very critical of the EU leadership” for the way it treats Turkey, which is “an accomplice with Islamic State,” he stressed.

    “I want to give a totally honest answer. I don’t think that mounting reports about the role of Turkey is enough to change the well-established and deeply entrenched ideas about the interests involved with Turkey, especially, the economic ties” within the EU, Mavrides told RT.

    The U-turn in EU leadership policies is only possible if support for Ankara negatively affects the election results within the block, he added.

  • 21:02 GMT

    The American anti-terrorist effort has “little to no chance of success as long as the Turks and Peninsular Arabs continued to provide support and assistance to ISIS,” Douglas Macgregor, a retired US Army colonel, told RT in an e-mailed response.

    “The Obama Administration deliberately omits this fact from the discussion presumably because the Administration and its allies in London and Paris are reluctant to publicly admit that Mr. Erdogan and his government is actively undermining the West,” he said.

    Erdogan with his allies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar “have not merely recruited and supported ISIS financially, they have also encouraged the Sunni Muslim migration into Europe with the goal of ‘Islamicizing Europe,” Macgregor stressed.

  • 21:01 GMT

    French MP Nicolas Dhuicq, has called RT’s evidence of illegal artifact trade by Islamic State “very convincing.”

    He recalled that when he visited Damascus last November the Syrian officials had “shown us pictures in many ancient cities in Syria, showing holes in the ground where looters [had] taken all the aircraft.”

    Dhuicq said that there is enough evidence to start a criminal investigation against “the sellers and intermediaries in Turkey because it’s the same trade and the same way, the same borders, through which oil goes to Turkey.”

  • 20:58 GMT

    Human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, declined to comment on RT’s reports, citing a lack of knowledge on the issues they raised.

    “Thank you for your request. We are not in a position to comment on this issue as we do not have any research on this,” the group said in an e-mailed response to RT.

  • 19:51 GMT

    Adel Alexander Darwish, a Westminster-based British political journalist, has called RT’s revelations “shocking, but not surprising.”

    He recalled satellite footage, provided by the Russian military, of oil tanker trucks crossing the Turkish border and Syrian artifacts appearing on the black market and other indications of Ankara’s links with Islamic State.

    The lack of criticism of Turkey’s actions from the EU is explained by the fact that “Turkey proved that they can turn and off the cap of migrants’ flood” into Europe and, with Ankara being a NATO member, the block fear sit may be dragged “into some kind of confrontation.”

  • 26 March 2016

    03:32 GMT

    Russia’s permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, said that the West is bound to react to RT’s evidence, as it is becoming impossible to ignore.

    However, he noted that any information coming from a Russian media source would be questioned, since most Russian mainstream media is “still unfortunately being called ‘Kremlin propaganda.’”

    Chizhov pointed out that the EU’s relationship with Turkey cannot be described as very friendly, as there is a side of mutual distrust to it that can be seen in work on migrants and refugees, as well as discussions surrounding the terror attacks in Brussels.

  • 02:21 GMT

    Turkey wants to see Syrian Kurds neutralized and at the same time make some money by dealing with Islamic State, Russia’s Chairman of the Upper House committee for foreign affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, told RT. He pointed out that one of the key problems for Syria is that world powers have their own, at times, conflicting agendas when it comes to the ongoing conflict there.

    It is the external support for the extremist group that has kept the military conflict alive, Kosachev added.

    Commenting on the leak, Kosarev also praised RT for its high-quality journalism.

    “This is an example of real investigative journalism – high quality, very convincing, and which was done in very extreme situations that demanded courage,” Kosachev said.

    He stressed that most of the information revealed was likely well known to intelligence agencies, yet what they did with it was very different and “now we see that.”