World News

U.S. rejects Russian charge that Turkey involved in Islamic State oil smuggling

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday flatly rejected Russian allegations that the Turkish government was in league with Islamic State militants to smuggle oil from Syria.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner told a news briefing that U.S. information was that Islamic State was selling oil at the wellheads to middlemen who in turn were involved in smuggling the oil across the frontier into Turkey.

“We reject outright the premise that the Turkish government is in league with ISIL to smuggle oil across its borders,” Toner said, using an acronym for the militant group. “We frankly see no evidence, none, to support such an accusation.”

Russia’s defence ministry said on Wednesday it had proof that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his family were benefiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from Islamic State-held territory in Syria and Iraq.

Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, writing by David Alexander; Editing by Doina Chiacu