US Secretary of State John Kerry should check out reports on the involvement of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son in illegal oil trade with the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said on Friday.
"I’d like to mention rumors that Erdogan’s son could be involved in illegal oil trade with the IS, although there are no proofs. If I was in Kerry’s place, I’d make an attempt to shed light on these reports," Muallem said commenting on Kerry’s statements that Damascus was buying oil from terrorists.
Muallem repeated that Kerry had no proofs that Syria bought oil from the IS. "We are still waiting to see them," the minister said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also touched upon the topic.
According to the Russian minister, the United States could not have been unaware of the scale of the Islamic States’ oil industry but preferred to spare it.
"Everything is a matter of practice. Let us operate with facts. There have been many reports that god knows who is living off the oil wells illegally seized by the Islamic State," Lavrov said.
"When our aviation started flying in the Syrian airspace at the request of (Syrian president) Bashar al-Assad, we saw the whole picture of that illegal business from above. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about that on several occasions, including yesterday’s news conference and the G20 summit in Antalya where he had shown space and aerial images - very eloquent and very convincing - to his colleagues," the Russian foreign minister went on to say.
"The US-led coalition started flying over Iraq and Syria, without the Syrian government’s consent by the way, more than a year before the Russian military operation. I am convinced that they saw all that but did not do anything for some unknown reason. Russian warplanes started bombing that criminal industry when they began operation in that area," Lavrov said.
"Of course, it’s certainly not a coincidence that our Turkish neighbours grew more and more nervous after that," the Russian foreign minister said.
According to Lavrov, the arrest of two Russian journalists for a story about illegal arms supplies from the Turkish territory to the Islamic State speaks of how carefully they (Turkey) protect information about their underground oil deals.
"So my answer is very simple: if the United States is so much concerned with the fact that god knows who is benefiting from the illegal oil business, the illegal oil field should stop functioning.
Lavrov believes that the US-led coalition ought to have started destroying that business straight from start.
"The US coalition and the Americans themselves started doing that after Russia had actively intervened with air strikes. I would say that then the US partners were forced to do that, so to speak, in order not to lag behind us in the struggle against terrorist infrastructure," Lavrov said.
He noted that the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 2199 that bans any trade with oil from terrorist-seized territories at Moscow’s request.
"Now we have submitted a concrete proposal to the United Nations Security Council to ask the United Nations Secretary General to prepare a report in the next two weeks to sum up all the existing information on who is supporting the IS illegal oil industry. We hope the UN Security Council members will have a chance to see this information. We constantly include this theme in the agenda. It is we who need full clarity," Lavrov said.
"I hope that the United States, given that US Secretary of State John Kerry is so much concerned with various aspects of this problem, is going to support us and this information will be presented to the world public," the Russian foreign minister concluded.