Recent documents released by Wikileaks have revealed evidence of cooperation between the government of Turkey and the Islamic State to profit from oil fields controlled by the terrorist group in Iraq and Syria. Wikileaks announced a searchable database of over 57,000 emails from the personal email accounts of Turkey’s energy minister Berat Albayrak, who is also the son-in-law of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The emails were published in partnership with a Turkish group called Red Hack, which earlier claimed in September that it had access to almost 20 gigabytes of data and was later censored on the internet by the Turkish government.
The emails show that since becoming energy minister in late 2015, Mr. Albayrak was still leading the daily operations of a company called Powertrans which has been accused of enabling Islamic State oil to reach the international marketplace from Syria and Kurdish areas of Iraq. Powertrans has a virtual monopoly over oil transport in Turkey as it was the only company granted a license in 2012 after a ban enacted in 2011 by Erdogan.
As reported by Zero Hedge, many emails show a company manager Betul Yilmaz asking for Albayrak to approve decisions like organizational planning, approving new employees and salary decisions. The email exchange between Albayrak and Yilmaz lasts for three years from 2012 until 2015.
Allegations that the government of Turkey has helped the Islamic State are not new, as regional parties and others involved in the Syrian proxy war, have made these accusations since 2014. Bilal Erdogan, the son of President Erdogan, was exposed as a major part of the logistics of the Islamic State oil trade through Turkey.
Statistical analysis of the oil market has also confirmed that Islamic State oil was being processed and exported from Turkey.
Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights appointed a team of researchers to study this and published a paper listing dozens of examples of Turkey aiding the Islamic State through action or inaction.
An opposition party minister in Turkey was charged with treason after publicly accusing the government and President Erdogan of helping Islamic State. Editors of a major Turkish newspaper were arrested for publishing reports and video of Turkey’s intelligence services sending weapons into Syria under the premise of humanitarian aid.
Russian officials also released satellite images and aerial video in December 2015 detailing the scale of oil trucks entering Turkey after President Vladimir Putin promised to produce evidence that Islamic State oil was being allowed to pass.
American reporter Serena Shim also exposed many of the ways Turkey allowed Islamic State to transport weapons, fighters and supplies across the Turkey-Syria border. She was killed in Turkey in a suspicious car accident two days after reporting on live television that Turkey’s MIT intelligence service was planning to arrest her.
Despite conflicting information on the scale, the US Treasury Department also confirmed that significant quantities of Islamic State oil were brought into Turkey.
US Vice President Joe Biden was forced to apologize publicly in 2014 after saying “President Erdogan told me, he’s an old friend, said, ‘You were right. We let too many people through.’ Now they are trying to seal their border,” referring to terrorists entering Syria from Turkey.
“They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world,” Biden told students at a Harvard University event.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that the emails were published in response to the Turkish government’s crackdown on dissent after the failed coup in July 2016. “The people of Turkey need a free media and a free internet,” Assange said.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 5, 2016