Regular readers are no doubt familiar with Bilal Erdogan.
Bilal is the son of Turkish dictator President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is on the verge of kicking off World War III by invading Syria in what is sure to be an ill-fated effort to shore up rebel forces and preserve the Azaz corridor, the last remaining supply line for the opposition which is staging what amounts to a last stand at Aleppo.
Erdogan’s family was put under the microscope by the Russian defense ministry in the wake of Ankara’s decision to shoot down a Russian Su-24 on the Syrian border in late November. "What a brilliant family business!," Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoly Antonov remarked, at a press briefing documenting Turkey's connection to Islamic State's illicit oil trafficking operation.
For those who might have missed the backstory, you're encouraged to read the following articles in their entirety:
- The Most Important Question About ISIS That Nobody Is Asking
- Meet The Man Who Funds ISIS: Bilal Erdogan, The Son Of Turkey's President
- How Turkey Exports ISIS Oil To The World: The Scientific Evidence
- ISIS Oil Trade Full Frontal: "Raqqa's Rockefellers", Bilal Erdogan, KRG Crude, And The Israel Connection
Put simply, there are any number of reasons to believe that AKP and the Erdogan family are complicit in the sale of illicit crude not only from Massoud Barzani and the Iraqi Kurds, but from Islamic State as well.
ISIS oil and Erbil's crude are both technically "undocumented" and considering that "the terrorists" are only producing around 45,000 b/d versus the 630,000 b/d the Iraqi Kurds are churning out, it's easy for Islamic State's product to get "lost" or to disappear as a rounding error, as it were.
Some say Bilal Erdogan is directly involved in getting ISIS crude to market via the Turkish port of Ceyhan, where tanker rates mysteriously spike around siginificant oil-related events involving Islamic State.
Bilal owns a Maltese shipping company which is almost certainly involved in the transport of stolen (and yes, regardless of whether the Iraqi Kurds' claims to statehood are legitimate, they are for the time being anyway, stealing oil form Baghdad) Iraqi oil to global markets. The question is whether the same connections and routes used to transport Barzani's oil are being used to transport Islamic State's product.
We won't recount the whole story here as you can read the entire account in the articles linked above, but we were amused to discover that Bilal Erdogan is now being investigated by Italian authorities for money laundering. "Prosecutors in Bologna have opened an investigation into the financial dealings of Bilal Erdogan, 35, who is currently living in the city with his family while he studies for a doctorate at an offshoot of Johns Hopkins University," The Telegraph reports, adding that "the investigation was opened after Murat Hakan Uzan, a businessman and political opponent of the Erdogan family, made the allegations about money laundering to the Italian authorities." Here's more:
Mr Uzan, who is in exile in France and claims to have been persecuted by the Erdogan regime, claimed that Bilal Erdogan was stockpiling money in Italy because he saw the country as a potential bolt-hole should he face problems at home.
Mr Uzan, a wealthy businessman, filed a criminal complaint with prosecutors in Bologna, accusing the president’s son of contravening Italy’s financial laws by bringing in huge amounts of money without declaring it to the authorities.
The claims of money laundering are being investigated by Manuela Cavallo, Bologna’s chief public prosecutor. Calls to her office were not answered.
Wiretapped telephone conversations were leaked in which two people alleged to be President Erdogan and his son were heard discussing how to dispose of large sums of cash.
The conversations allegedly took place in December 2013, on the day that sons of three Cabinet ministers were detained as part of a vast corruption investigation.
The Turkish government insisted they were fabricated. Both the president and his son denied any wrongdoing.
Bilal, who is one of President Erdogan’s four children, has commercial interests in shipping and oil tankers.
In December Russia accused him and his family of profiting from the illegal smuggling of oil from territory held by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Bilal's attorneys aren't prepared to comment. "I have nothing to say," Giovanni Trombini , one of Bilal's lawyers said. "Trials should be held in court, not in the press.
But this is the court of public opinion and we implore readers to render their judgement below. Just beware the wrath of Bilal's bow...