Erdogan rejects Russian accusation of illegal oil trade with IS

Ankara, Nov 26 (IANS) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday refuted accusations by Russian authorities that Turkey has been involved in illegal oil trade with the Islamic State militant group.

“The ones who claim we purchase oil from IS are obligated to prove it,” Erdogan said, adding that 79 million litres of smuggled oil have been seized by Turkey in 2014, Xinhua reported.

“Daesh sells the oil they drill to (Syrian President Bashar) al-Assad. Talk these over with the al-Assad you support,” Erdogan said, in response to Russian Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev’s accusations.

Ties between Moscow and Ankara have become strained after the latter downed a Russian warplane on Tuesday allegedly on airspace violation.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday that Turkey does not aim to escalate tension with Russia.

“Russia is our friend, our neighbour,” he told lawmakers. “Our bilateral communication channels are still open.”

“It was not an incident that Turkey desired,” Davutoglu added.

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