19:01 GMT +316 October 2018
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    Oil well pumps are seen in the Rmeilane oil field in Syria's northerneastern Hasakeh province on July 15, 2015

    Simple Test Can Bring End to Erdogan's Illicit Sale of 'Conflict Crude'

    © AFP 2018 / YOUSSEF KARWASHAN
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    Oil test labs can easily reveal where the crude Turkey sells comes from and where it goes, according to Henry Kamens, an expert on Central Asia and Caucasus; however, the expert doubts that the illicit business would be ultimately disrupted even if Ankara's role was exposed.

    The Erdogan family's role in smuggling illegal oil from Syria and Iraq is an open secret; furthermore, a qualified oil test can indicate exactly where the oil that President's son Bilal Erdogan sells came from and track where it goes, Henry Kamens, a columnist and expert on Central Asia and the Caucasus underscores.

    "It is also Turkish state policy to support the Syrian opposition through oil sales, alongside the Western powers who arm, fund and train them, and therefore a state-controlled oil smuggling mechanism must exist and be part of a wider Western oil supply operation. Turkey is serving a purpose, in exchange for the usual payoffs. But maybe the gravy train is about to come to an end. It is possible for test labs to tell exactly where the oil came from. Exactly!" Kamens stresses in his recent article for New Eastern Outlook.

    The columnist notes that we don't know all the players involved in Daesh's oil business. It is likely that many of them are reputable oil testing and transport companies. However, a "few names" which "keep cropping up are a bit less than reputable" because of their alleged connections, the expert remarks.

    "One of these is Genel Energy Plc. This is one of the Rothschild companies, which should start alarm bells ringing in itself. Giving it the benefit of the doubt, we can say that it has made vast investments in Syria and Northern Iraq and it would make more business sense if it could deal with one compliant government in these countries rather than two unreliable ones. Taking a less charitable line, we can suggest, as some pundits have, that there has long been a Rothschild plan to create a Kurdish state for this purpose," Kamens writes.

    According to a July 2014 Forbes article, "Genel's big backers are banking scion Nathaniel Rothschild and Turkish billionaire Mehmet Emin Karamehmet." The company's CEO is Tony Hayward, the former head of BP. Forbes adds, "with pull like that, no wonder Genel has plunged into developing virgin oilfields in the region despite insistence from Iraq's oil ministry in Baghdad that their contracts with the KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) are illegal." Hayward stepped down in disgrace after his flubbed response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; he'd said that the environmental impact of the spill would likely be "very very modest" and called it "relatively tiny".

    Interestingly enough, the slogan emblazoned on the company's 2014 Annual Report reads "Powering the future of the Kurdistan region of Iraq." Genel claims to have over a decade-long track record of supporting the region, "through both powering economic growth and working in partnership to identify and meet community needs."

    However, nobody would pursue someone like Rothschild for playing the region's oil games, Kamens remarks, adding that, in contrast, no one would shed tears if the Erdogan family is brought down.

    According to the columnist, the Erdogan clan has already made a lot of money through the illicit oil trade. If someone has to be sacrificed in order "to keep the operation running," the Erdogans are the prime target, he believes.

    Kamens suggests that the stolen oil is being transferred through the Georgian port of Batumi and, possibly, through the Ukrainian port of Odessa.

    Furthermore "Turkey is known to have smuggled Kurdish crude oil through another port, Ceyhan, for years. That port is state-owned," the expert notes.

    Although oil test labs in Batumi and in Ceyhan might falsify the tests' results, when oil tankers arrive at their destinations the oil they carry can be retested. "This must have been exposed elsewhere, by end users who may now be being given the signal that to maintain their existing supplies, it is in their interests to say what they know," the columnist emphasizes.

    "The progressive exposure of the Erdogan family's oil smuggling for [Daesh] will bring down an [US] ally which has pushed its luck too far, but that, rather than what they have done, will be the story. The actual oil smuggling, and devastation it funds and causes, continue because none of us care enough to stop it," the expert concludes grimly.

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    Tags:
    Oil, terrorists, illegal, Jihadists, trade, The Syrian war, Daesh, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Bilal Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, United States, Russia, Central Asia, Georgia
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