As the fight against Islamic State rages on, Russia has accused Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan of profiting from ISIS oil sales.
According to NBC News, Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told journalists in Moscow that Erdogan and his family are directly benefiting from Islamic State’s illegal oil trading.
“Turkey resells this oil. The appalling part about it is that the country’s top political leadership is involved in the illegal business — President Erdogan and his family,” Antonov said.
While Russian officials have made these accusations before, they have not provided evidence of Erdogan’s alleged involvement with ISIS oil sales.
Erdogan called the accusations “slander” and said he would step down if they were proven to be true, Reuters said.
The Russian minister also mentioned Erdogan’s son, Bilal Erdogan, a shareholder in marine transportation firm BMZ Group Denizcilik ve İnşaat Sanayi Anonim Şirketi.
“In the West, no one has asked questions about the fact that the Turkish president’s son heads one of the biggest energy companies, or that his son-in-law has been appointed energy minister. What a marvelous family business!” Antonov said.
At the press conference, Antonov presented satellite images that he said showed oil tanker trucks at Islamic State controlled facailties in Syria and Iraq that then crossed into Turkey.
Turkey is currently a part of the U.S. led coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq while Russia is supporting and aiding Syrian president Bashar Assad.
Low oil prices and new waves of U.S. and Russian air strikes prompted by the attacks in Paris last month are putting a dent in Islamic State oil production.
Energy Aspects chief oil analyst Amrita Sen told CNBC last month that ISIS oil production has fallen to about 40,000 barrels per day from a high of 110,000 barrels per day.
Oil production is of the ISIS’s main sources of revenues, with the group currently controlling about 60 percent of Syria’s crude production and 10 percent of Iraq’s crude production.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Syrian oil production has “essentially ceased” since ISIS began taking over the country’s oilfields in 2014.