Turkish officials have arrested and deported Russian journalists investigating Turkey’s widely-reported oil business with Daesh Takfiri terrorists operating in Syria.
Staff members of the Rossiya 1 television channel were detained after arriving in southeastern Turkey, where the country borders Syria, Russia Today reported on Wednesday.
They were authoring an investigative report on smuggling of the Syrian oil by the terror group into Turkey.
Alexander Buzaladze, the head of the TV crew, said working earlier in Istanbul and the Turkish capital, Ankara, they had faced no opposition from the authorities; but as soon as they arrived at the border and tried to film close to the frontier, the crew was “blocked [by] the Turkish security forces,” leaving them no time to even “get the camera out.”
Reacting to the incident, the Russian Foreign Ministry said, “One gets the impression that Ankara is scared that correspondents of the Rossiya 1 TV channel may throw a spotlight on facts about the illegal activities carried out in the Turkish-Syrian border area [that] the Turkish government would prefer to keep in the shadow[s].”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Turkey of buying oil from Daesh, which is causing death and destruction mainly in Syria and Iraq. He has said satellite images had shown long lines of trucks carrying oil from Daesh-controlled areas in northeastern Syria into Turkey.
Relations between Moscow and Ankara became tense after Turkey shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber on November 24, claiming that it had entered its airspace for “17 seconds” – an allegation Russia strongly rejected. One of the two pilots was rescued while the other was killed by Takfiri militants after parachuting from the plane.
Turkey has time and again become the subject of international criticism for collusion with terrorists fighting in Syria.
Turkish opposition daily Cumhuriyet posted a video on its website on May 29, purportedly showing trucks belonging to the Turkish intelligence agency carrying weapons to the Takfiri terrorists operating in Syria.
Last year, five former law enforcement officials, allegedly involved in intercepting arms that were being transferred from the country to the militants fighting the Syrian government, were accused of “attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by using force and violence or attempts to destroy the government’s function totally or partly.”