Defense Minister Ya’alon to Turkey: Stop supporting ISIS, cease buying its oil

Israel, Greece and Cyprus are forming a Mediterranean alliance to counter the mounting threat of Islamic terrorism.

By: JNS.org and World Israel News Staff
Ya’alon Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos sign a joint declaration. (MOD)

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon accused Turkey of supporting the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group by purchasing its oil.

“As you know, Daesh (Arabic acronym for ISIS) enjoyed Turkish money for oil for a very, very long period of time. I hope that it will be ended,” Ya’alon said during a meeting with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos in Athens.

Turkey and Israel’s diplomatic ties deteriorated in 2010 following the Mavi Marmara flotilla incident, but have reportedly been close to normalizing relations in recent months.

Ya’alon also accused Turkey of “permitting jihadists to move from Europe to Syria and Iraq and back, as part of Daesh’s terrorist network, and I hope this will stop too.”

Turkey is a preferred relaying point for Jihadists convening from around the world in route to join ISIS in Syria.

“It’s up to Turkey, the Turkish government, the Turkish leadership, to decide whether they want to be part of any kind of cooperation to fight terrorism. This is not the case so far,” Ya’alon said.

While in Greece, Ya’alon discussed with his counterpart the security in the Middle East, the civil war in Syria and defense cooperation with Greece. The two signed a joint declaration at the conclusion of their meeting.

“Greece is an important Israeli ally in the Mediterranean region. Greece and Israel face shared challenges that are knocking on the West’s door and are threatening to harm order and stability. The IDF and the Greek army cooperate extensively, to both parties’ benefit, including conducting joint air force, naval and ground forces exercises. We are happy to share our knowledge with Greece and are happy to sign a joint declaration, which reflects the depth of the relationship, which as far as we are concerned will continue to deepen and intensify,” Ya’alon said in a statement.

The defense minister’s comments come amid a flurry of diplomatic activity between Israel, Greece, and Cyprus this week. Greece and Cyrpus are historic opponents of Turkey.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and 10 Greek government ministers are scheduled to travel to Jerusalem and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

Following their meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu and Tsipras will head to Cyprus to hold a tripartite summit with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. The three leaders will discuss eastern Mediterranean energy and security issues, such as the vast oil and gas fields in the region as well as the outlook in Turkey and Syria.