Turkey's Erdogan 'Ready to Stand Down' If IS Oil Trade Claims Are Proven

Southeast Europe | December 1, 2015, Tuesday // 17:15|  views

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech as he attends Heads of States` Statements ceremony of the COP21 World Climate Change Conference 2015 in Le Bourget, north of Paris, France, November 30, 2015.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said he was ready to step down if allegations that Ankara traded oil with the Islamic State (IS) group were proven, local media outlets say.

"The nobility of our nation would require that I would not stay in office," H?rriyet Daily News quotes him as saying.

He added Russia should elaborate on what Putin earlier called "evidence" that substantial quantities of "IS oil" were used by Turkey.

This follows allegations hurled by Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials that Turkey had ties with IS and purchased some of the oil produced at refineries currently under its control in Iraq and Syria.

The accusations come against the backdrop of a spat between Russia and Turkey over the downing of a Russian aircraft that reportedly flew into Turkish airspace last week.

After Moscow introduced sanctions against Ankara following the latter's refusal to apologize over the incident, Erdogan suggested several times a meeting with Putin should take place, an invitation the Russian President declines.

On the sidelines of a climate conference in Paris, Putin also suggested it had been "the desire to protect the oil supply lines to Turkish territory:  that drove Ankara to shoot down the Russian Su-24.

The latest developments also follow reports that trucks of Turkey's intelligence service MIT had been transporting weapons into Syria used by IS. Turkish army officials were arrested over the incident on espionage charges on Sunday.

 


Tags: Russia, turkey, Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, Putin, Recep Tayyin Erdogan, MIT, Islamic state, IS, oil

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