Turkish president: ISIL appropriating region’s oil
DHA PhotoPresident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has used an international gathering on energy as an opportunity to question the motives of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in its “constant oil operations” in the region.
“What does oil matter if there is nothing human? If there is humanity then water is also valuable. The entire world needs to comprehend that this merciless system cannot continue in the 21st century,” said Erdoğan on May 25, in a speech delivered at the opening of the 6th World Forum on Energy Regulation in Istanbul.
“At the moment, oil wells are at the hands of Daesh,” he said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
“I wonder who Daesh [ISIL] is using these oil wells for. It earns considerable wealth through these oil wells … It should be seen that the global economy cannot reach welfare without dignifying humanity with justice and without taking countries, peoples, and persons into consideration one by one,” Erdoğan added.
In mid-May, six months after Baghdad triumphantly announced that ISIL militants had retreated from Iraq’s largest refinery, the extremist group has again threatened to overrun the facility.
For weeks, soldiers, police officers and Shiite militiamen have struggled to hold their ground inside the Baiji oil complex during a brutal siege by ISIL. The militant group’s suicide bombers have relentlessly struck the perimeters of the refinery, about 150 miles north of the capital, and pushed deep inside the massive facility.
Last week, US defense officials said Iran has entered the fight to retake a major Iraqi oil refinery from the fundamentalists.
‘We are key country in transferring Cyprus energy sources’
Erdoğan also touched upon the Cyprus issue, which is a hot agenda as UN-facilitated peace talks resumed last week after an eight-month hiatus.
“Cyprus will play an important role in the energy map of the East Mediterranean. The energy resources around it have an important place in our energy diplomacy. Abandoning our policies regarding the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the energy resources of the island is out of the question for us. On every occasion we have said that any resource discovered belongs to all people on the island,” he said.
“Turkey is the key country in the use of the resources unearthed there and their transfer to global markets,” added Erdoğan.
Last week, the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders said they would unveil a number of measures aimed at building trust between the two sides.
A peace accord would bring a huge boost to the island’s economy, improve regional security and unlock cooperation on the region’s offshore gas reserves. But many thorny issues need to be tackled including how to share power in an envisioned federation and military intervention rights.