Turkish energy minister blasts accusations of oil purchase from ISIL, nuclear weapon plans
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkish Energy Minister has criticized claims against Turkey, speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency’s Energy Desk. AA PhotoTurkish Energy Minister Taner Yıldız has once again brushed off claims regarding Turkey’s energy links and operations, calling the accusations “attempts to damage Turkey’s reputation.”
Turkey has recently been accused of buying smuggled oil from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), selling jet fuel to Israel amid the Gaza assault and working on developing a nuclear bomb, Yıldız said. He called these three allegations “undeserved, baseless and total lies.”
“These are accusations that Turkey doesn’t deserve, and they are intentional,” the minister told Anadolu Agency on Sept. 26, while he was visiting the agency’s “Energy Desk.”
In his remarks, Yıldız reiterated his previous remarks regarding the issue and called the claims “efforts to damage Turkey’s international political reputation.”
In mid-July, during Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza, some local media outlets claimed Turkey was continuing to sell jet fuel to Israel, despite Ankara’s opposition to Israel’s military operations.
The government denied any fuel trade with the country, stating that jets receiving fuel in Turkish airports should not be viewed as exports.
A few weeks ago, the government was also forced to clear the air over alleged oil purchases from ISIL militants, after a New York Times report stated Turkey had not taken sufficient measures to end the trade.
Both President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu furiously refuted the claim, placing blame on Western media and describing the reports as attempts to discredit Turkey.
Oil smuggling from both Iraq and Syria has long been an issue, especially after a global ban on oil shipments from Iraq was imposed during the first Iraqi war. This gave rise to an important black market sector, where locals on all sides of the borders profit considerably by using hundreds of tankers and hidden pipelines.
Nuclear weapon claims
As the latest and most extreme of these claims, the German daily Die Welt reported Sept. 21 that Turkey seeks to acquire enriched uranium and develop its own nuclear weapon amid increasing threats in the region.
After a denial from Yıldız, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgiç also released a statement to rule out the claims, saying the report “has nothing to do with the truth.” “Turkey attaches great importance to issues of arms control and disarmament and is a party to all relevant international treaties and conventions including, in particular, the treaty on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. It is also an active participant in international efforts in these areas,” he said.