This is How Turkey’s Oil Trade With Daesh Works

4 Dec 4.12.2015

Turkey is doing business with Daesh, also known as ISIL/The Islamic State, in various areas but it is the illegal oil trade that has recently made headlines, Die Presse reported.

The mechanism behind the shady deals is quite straightforward.

The brutal group, which controls numerous oilfields in Iraq and Syria, has been selling oil in Zakho, a city in Iraqi Kurdistan located close to the border with Turkey. Turkish middlemen, according to Die Presse, take the commodity, which receives official documents at auctions in Zakho, to the port cities of Mersin, Ceyhan and Dortyol.

According to some estimates, Daesh has made approximately $500 million on illegal oil exports since the beginning of 2015. The brutal group is believed to be producing up to 50,000 barrels per day.

But Zakho is not the only destination for the illegal oil, which is transported into Turkey via porous border.

“Among other things, the brutal group controls nearly 100 kilometers of border between the towns of Jarabulus and Kilis, which militants use to smuggle weapons, money, antiquities and food, as well as Daesh recruits to and from the heartland” of the so-called caliphate, the Austrian media outlet noted.


Turkey has repeatedly promised to seal off the border with Syria. Last week, reports surfaced that the White House had urged Erdogan to send troops to secure the troubled border region but Ankara has essentially done nothing to prevent militants from crossing it.  

This raises questions as to what Ankara’s true intentions are when it comes to tackling what many describe as the common threat all countries face.

Although Turkey joined the US-led coalition tasked with destroying Daesh, it has in fact mostly launched airstrikes against the Kurds, targeting the PKK in northern Iraq and the YPG in northern Syria. Turkey’s anti-Kurdish campaign is weakening the ground force which has long stood against the brutal group.

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