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Energy minister disputes report, denies involvement in ISIL oil trade.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Energy Minister Taner Yyldyz on Monday denied a US media report that claimed Turkey was involved in oil trade with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), saying that such allegations are part of attempts to undermine Turkey's international reputation.

"I believe this report has a purpose," Yyldyz said in Qatar, referring to a story in The New York Times that said Turkey was the destination for black market oil supplied by ISIL. According to the report the US has been trying to prevent ISIL from obtaining oil revenue but failed to convince Turkey to stop the black market trade of oil from ISIL into Turkey.

Yyldyz said Turkey as a state respects the rule of law in all of its transactions. Responding to the oil trade claim, he told the private NTV station: "It is not our problem if someone says that ISIL oil is mixed with oil coming from Kirkuk. This is an internal affair for Iraq. We have not been informed about it, and the whole world knows we would take the necessary measures if we were told about something like that."

He said such reports aim to create the impression that Turkey supports ISIL, pushing Turkey away from the West.

Western intelligence officials cited in The New York Times said they can track ISIL oil shipments as they move across Iraq and Turkey, but the US has not yet attacked the tanker trucks. However, attacking tanker trucks carrying ISIL oil "remains an option," a senior administration official reportedly said on Friday.

US officials speaking to The New York Times said Turkey could substantially disrupt cash flow to ISIL if it tried to do so.

"Like any sort of black market smuggling operation, if you devote the resources and the effort to attack it, you are unlikely to eradicate it, but you are likely to put a very significant dent in it," a senior administration official told The New York Times.

A visiting foreign policy fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, Luay al-Khatteeb, said: "The key gateway through that black market is the southern corridor of Turkey. ... Turkey is becoming part of this black economy [that funds ISIL]."

Another expert quoted by The New York Times alleged that Turkey has been turning a blind eye to the oil trade because it benefits from the lower price of smuggled black market oil. "And I'm sure there are substantial numbers of Turks that are also profiting from this, maybe even government officials," James Phillips, the senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Heritage Foundation, reportedly said.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Sep 15, 2014
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