Beirut – Turkey stands once again in a disturbing light as Russian officials and Middle East experts have alleged that the country is playing into the capitalism of terror for financial gain. “Turkey is used by drug dealers as a transit country for heroin trafficking from Afghanistan”, the head of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, Viktor Ivanov told reporters in mid-December during a conference.
He added, “In this case, oil trafficking coincides with drug trafficking, but the directions are different. While Afghan heroin is trafficked through Turkey, oil is delivered to Europe through the Balkan countries, in the opposite direction .. It’s really a lot of money generated by drug trafficking. Afghan narcotic drugs bring about $150 billion in criminal money that gets into criminal circulation and results in destabilization of the situation in the transit countries, and Turkey is one of such countries”.
Russian defense analyst Ivan Eland explained how Turkey’s dealings were uncovered after Russia and Afghanistan both conducted an investigation into those routes drug traffickers have pursued to smuggle their products into Europe and Eurasia. Findings established that Turkey remains deeply involved in Afghanistan drug trade: together the facilitator and the industrial, as it is in its laboratories that opium – the raw material in heroin production, has been not only shipped to Turkey, but treated and manufactured into drug products, before being sent off to other markets abroad.
“The cargo traveled along the route of Badakhshan-Doshi-Bamiyan-Herat, then further through Iran and into Turkey, where the opium was processed in well-equipped laboratories … into high quality heroin, and then was to be sent to Europe and Russia,” Ivanov said during an anti-narcotics committee meeting. “Daesh [ISIL] is receiving between $200 million and $500 million annually from smuggling Afghan heroin into Europe,” he added.
While Turkish officials have refused to comment on the matter, arguing that Ankara harbors no ties what-so-ever with traffickers or radical outfits, Turkey’s involvement, or at least, its sitting in the middle of an incredibly complex Black trade has led experts to ask very difficult questions indeed.
In an interview with Shafaqna in December 2015, Prince Ali Seraj of Afghanistan argued that Turkey, another patsy of Saudi Arabia has allowed for traffickers affiliated to Terror to run their activities undisturbed – sharing in the benefits they drew to help prop the pockets of unscrupulous politicians. But how far are those terror connections really running?Most importantly can we assume that Turkish President Recep Erdogan is complicit?
While Moscow’s recent claims can be construed as politically motivated, it is however difficult to ignore those smoking guns which over the years and months have offered glimpses into those terror ties Turkey has played into, and maybe exploited to score a few political points of its own.
In July 2015 Martin Chulov of the Guardian wrote in a report, “A US-led raid on the compound housing the Islamic State’s ‘chief financial officer’ produced evidence that Turkish officials directly dealt with ranking ISIS members”. Black market oil has long been the main driver of ISIL revenues – and Turkish buyers have been its main clients. As a result, the oil trade between radicals and the Turks was held up as evidence of an alliance between the two. It led to protests from Washington and Europe – both already wary of Turkey’s 900-mile border with Syria being used as a gateway by would-be jihadis from around the world.
The estimated $1m-$4m per day in oil revenues which is thought to have flowed into ISIL coffers since late 2013 helped to transform an ambitious force with limited means into a juggernaut that has been steadily drawing western forces back to the region and increasingly testing state borders. Today it is drug trafficking terror outfits have turned to to turn a profit and fuel their ambitious war machine.
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