WikiLeaks exposes President Erdogan's son-in-law's links with IS oil trading company

WION New Delhi, India Dec 07, 2016, 11.07 AM(IST) Written By: Daniele Pagani

Smoking oil dregs are dumped into the ground in Syria's Derik. Photograph:( Getty )

Berat Albayrak, Turkey's minister of energy and natural resources and son-in-law of president Tayyip Erdogan faces trouble after Wikileaks published more than 57,000 emails coming from his personal account.  

Part of this correspondence links him with a Turkish company which is under scan as a possible oil trader for the Islamic State (IS).


The leak is an open window on 16 years of Turkey's power structure dynamics, but what could trouble Albayrak the most is an exchange of emails with Mr Betul Yilmaz, human resources manager of Calik Holding, the corporate where he was CEO for six years, from 2007 to 2013. 

As reported by WikiLeaks, two mails dated 2012 show Mr Yilmaz seeking approval on certain issues regarding Powertrans, a company owned by Çalik Holding and suspected to have bought oil coming from IS-controlled territories. 

Powertrans attracted eyeballs after it was assigned the only licence to import and export oil from Turkey, after a very restrictive law passed in 2011.  

The bulk of Albayrak's personal mails was first made public by the Turkish hacker group RedHack. Activists published the documents after Turkish government refused to accept the group's request to set some leftist political prisoners free.

 The material was then censored and Wikileaks decided to publish it as a response to the Turkish crackdown on local and international media after the failed 15-July coup. "WikiLeaks’ publication of the archive today ensures the safekeeping of this historical record and the public's proper access by making it readily searchable and citable," read their website. 

Allegation about Turkey purchasing oil from IS controlled territories is not new, but this is the first time that a document carrying on specific names has reached the public domain.  

In 2014, David S Cohen, under-secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said publicly that the US had information about middlemen, some of them Turkish, transporting and selling oil coming from Islamic State territories. He also declared that part of the oil had been sold to Iraqi Kurds and then resold into Turkey. 

In 2015, the Russian defense ministry published maps and images showing what Russian Lieutanant General Sergey Rudosky considered an "irrefutable evidence of Turkey's involvement" in transporting oil coming from IS' controlled plants, mainly in Syria. Russia claimed that Syrian oil was reaching Turkey through three routes and that oil-filled tankers were not being checked on the border.
Russian accusations came shortly after diplomatic relations between the two countries plummeted because of the shooting down of a Russian jet by a Turkish warplane.   

Both President Erdogan and his son-in-law  Albayrak have denied the present and previous allegations.