MOSCOW, Russia on Wednesday accused the family of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of involvement in the purchase of oil from the Islamic State.
The accusations by Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov came as relations between Turkey and Russia have been inflamed over the downing of a Russian fighter plane by Turkey near the Turkey-Syria border, and a subsequent Russian trade and tourism sanction against Turkey.
Earlier in the week, Russia accused Turkey of shooting down the jet in order to protect its oil interests with the IS — also identified as Daesh, ISIS and ISIL. On Wednesday, Antonov specifically named Erdogan and his family for their alleged involvement with the trade.
“Turkey is the main destination for the oil stolen [by IS] from its legitimate owners, which are Syria and Iraq. Turkey resells this oil. The appalling part about it is that the country’s top political leadership is involved in the illegal business, President Erdogan and his family. In the West, no one has asked questions about the fact that the Turkish president’s son heads one of the biggest energy companies, or that his son has been appointed energy minister. What a marvelous family business!” Antonov said in Moscow.
Russia has produced what it says are satellite images of oil tankers leaving Syrian areas controlled by IS and crossing the border into Turkey. Otherwise Russia has provided no evidence of its accusations, though Turkish officials said they are attempting to reduce oil smuggling.
Erdogan denied the charges earlier this week, and volunteered to step down if they are proven true.
By Ed Adamczyk