TURKEY’S FIGHT AGAINST DEASH/ISIL TERRORISM AND OIL SMUGGLING
Turkey’s stance on DEASH and Russian smear campaign against Turkey:
– DEASH/ISIL terrorist group is a national security threat to Turkey. It has been listed by Turkey as a terrorist entity since October 2013.
– Turkey had become a member of the Anti-DEASH Coalition right after its establishment and contributed to it in various ways.
– Since August 28, Turkish jets have been carrying out operations against DEASH/ISIL targets in Syria within the framework of the Global Coalition to Counter DEASH. This is but one example of our determination to fight DEASH.
– Allegations of oil trade with DEASH and other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, are baseless and mere products of black propaganda. This propaganda targets not only Turkey but also the efforts of the Global Coalition to Counter DEASH.
– We totally reject these unfounded allegations, in particular those levied by Russia.
– Following shut down of a Russian warplane due to its violation of Turkish airspace on 24 November 2015, Russian Federation has launched a smear campaign against Turkey built on baseless claims about Turkey engaging in oil trade with DEASH/ISIL terrorist organization.
– These allegations are totally baseless and we reject them. It is no surprising that there is no tangible evidence in support of these allegations.
– Russian Federation, by these allegations, aims to misguide the international community and divert attention from its support to the brutal oppression by the Syrian regime and its rogue actions elsewhere, including in Ukraine.
– It is a known fact that Russian airstrikes in Syria avoid targeting DEASH/ISIL meaningfully and instead cause great damage to civilians, destroy civilian infrastructure out of DEASH/ISIL occupied area.
– If Russian Federation is sincere about preventing DEASH/ISIL oil trade and deplete financial resources of DEASH/ISIL, first it has to take action against oil trade between DEASH/ISIL and Syrian Regime to which it lends its support.
Turkey’s efforts to secure its border with Syria and to counter oil smuggling:
-Turkish Government has zero-tolerance for illegal cross-border activities and employs forceful and ongoing measures to prevent oil smuggling, particularly in the border areas. Smuggling along Turkey’s lengthy border with Iraq and Syria has been a problem for decades and has been an issue garnering significant government attention and resources.
-Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, in response to increasing lawlessness at the other side of the borders, Turkish law enforcement and security forces stepped up their efforts to counter all threats to our security including smuggling activities stemming from Syria.
– The measures, since 2012, which targeted smuggling networks preceded the capture of two major oil fields in Syria and Iraq by DEASH/ ISIL in June and July 2014 and months before the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2170 in August 2014 and 2199 in February 2015.
– The Turkish Government is actively fighting against oil smuggling and the use of smuggled oil in gas stations all around the country through inspections and enhanced legislation. In 2012, the Action Plan on Countering Oil Smuggling was revised. A Circular Order (2012/19) by Prime Ministry for enhanced measures were introduced. A legislation was passed on April 11, 2013, which increased the penalties for smuggling of oil as well as the sale of smuggled oil in gas stations in the country.
– While in 2014, 79 million liters (21 million gallons) of smuggled oil was intercepted by the Turkish law enforcement and customs authorities, in the first ten month of 2015 this amount decreased to 1.220.000 liters (322,289 gallons) thanks to deterrence of smuggling attempts by the measures taken. 300 kilometers of illegal pipelines, which are often little more than hoses used for oil smuggling across the Syrian border, were destroyed.
– Turkey, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2199 (2015) regularly provides information to the UN Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee about the incidents of smuggled oil and amount of oil seized in the border area with Syria and Iraq, although the link between material seized and DEASH/ISIL or ANF terrorist groups cannot be established.
– Turkey co-led a FATF typology project on DEASH with the US and co-sponsored the UNSC on curbing finance of DEASH. Under the Coalition against DEASH/ISIL, Turkey co-leads the FTF Working Group and also takes part in the Working Group on counter financing. Turkish Financial Intelligence Unit (MASAK) also cooperates with other Financial Intelligence Units, including the FINCEN.
Enhanced measures for border security:
– Only two border gates are operating at Syrian border area and no vehicle transit is allowed. Goods, not subject to UN sanctions, are unloaded at zero point and delivered to the other side of the border after customs check.
– Measures at the Turkish-Syria and Turkish-Iraq borders were enhanced by additional personnel, patrols and equipment.
– Overall land borders of Turkey (with Iran, Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Syria) are secured by 50.000 military personnel. Within the framework of enhanced border security measures with Syria, number of the personnel of the existing 12 Border Battalions which was 12.000 in 2104, has been increased to 20.000.
-New units of air defense and reconnaissance have been added to the battalions.
-90 percent of the operations of unmanned air vehicles are focused in Syrian border area to detect illegal crossing and smuggling activities.
– Turkey has also strengthened physical security measures along its 911 kilometers long border shared with Syria. Specifically, number of border patrol stations increased; 375.695 meters length of trenches have been dug; 153.336 meters long barbed wire installed; 3.386 meters long security wall and 19.810 meters of movable concrete wall formed; 26.355 meters of accordion barrier systems positioned; 422.630 border enlightenment poles installed; 79.507 meters long ground set (3×3 m.) formed; 1.217.700 meters length of border patrol path improved and 7.800 meters long road constructed.
– Furthermore, Turkey is in the process of establishment of “Syrian border physical security system”, including construction of 151 kilometers of wall, which is expected to cost 233 million Turkish Lira (81 million US Dollars).