Türkiye’s Contributions’s to Anti-Deash Coalition

Since its formation, Türkiye has been actively participating activities of the anti-DEASH coalition which specified five lines of effort to degrade the capabilities of, and ultimately defeat DEASH. A diverse group of countries from across the globe have embarked on persistent and comprehensive approach. In that regard, members of the anti-DEASH Coalition have made significant progress to degrading DEASH on the battle field, challenged them in the media, cut their funding and recruitment, and stabilize the territories they have left devastated.

It has been fundamental to anti-DEASH Coalition to degrade and defeat DEASH through denying safe haven and building up military capacity. Within this context, Türkiye;

• has participated in the Coalition Campaign military planning from day one,

• has declared its national contributions to the Coalition as part of the Campaign Plan as of February 2015,

• has allowed it airspace to be used by Coalition aircraft for both combat and non-combat roles, including intelligence gathering, personnel recovery,
• has opened its facilities to the US and other Coalition partners, allowing over 60 aircraft with over 1200 personnel to be deployed to support operations, for counter-DEASH operations in Syria and Iraq,

• has been hitting DEASH targets since the beginning through air, artillery and other assets,

• has actively been hosting the Train-Equip Program,

• only since January this year, hit 487 DEASH targets eliminating at least 86 DEASH terrorists,

• has developed plans to clear DEASH from our borders, and these efforts will continue.

Türkiye has also put in place a broad array of mechanisms to disrupt or stop the flow of foreign fighters. Türkiye is continuously enhancing security measures to stop and intercept foreign terrorist fighters at airports and other border crossing points through Risk Analysis Units established specifically for this purpose. Türkiye has begun to counter threat of foreign terrorist fighters since 2011 and called for source countries to take necessary legal and administrative measures to prevent departure and travel of FTFs from their countries. In this regard, Türkiye, as of February 2016, has included about 37.000 foreigners in the no-entry list since the Syrian crisis erupted. More than 3.000 foreigners were deported since 2011 in the context of measures against foreign fighters.

Within the context of anti-DEASH coalition, Türkiye is co-chairing Counter ISIL Coalition Working Group on Foreign Terrorist Fighters (WGFTF) which focuses on supporting and encouraging actions that directly complement and support Coalition efforts to degrade and ultimately defeat DEASH in Syria and Iraq. At the same time, Türkiye, in the context of WG’s plan including nine strand of action assumed to lead “promote intensified and accelerated exchange of actionable information on FTF travel, facilitating effective communication channels and points of contacts between Coalition members” and in that respect an international meeting was held in Ankara on 23-24 November 2015. Results of this meeting is shared with the members of the Coalition.

Türkiye, in line with the Security Council resolutions 2178(2014) and 2199(2015) has launched a comprehensive strategy and took effective measures to combat DEASH’s finances and disrupt and prevent the terrorist organization from raising, moving and using funds. Türkiye co-led a FATF typology project on DEASH with the US. Türkiye also takes part in the Working Group on counter financing. At the same time, as an active member of FATF, Turkish Financial Intelligence Unit (MASAK) also cooperates with other FIUs.

Türkiye, along with its 911 kilometers land border with Syria and 331 kilometers with Iraq employs effective and robust measures to prevent smuggling activities. Türkiye conducts a zero-tolerance policy regarding illegal cross-border activities.

Actually, oil smuggling along Türkiye’s south-eastern borders is not a new phenomenon. Türkiye has been victimized by this phenomenon for decades, losing millions in tax revenue, and the Government has been actively fighting oil smuggling and the use of smuggled oil in gas stations all around the country through inspections and enhanced legislation, in particular since the beginning of the 2000s. In this context, the Anti-Smuggling Law was adopted in 2003, and a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry was set up in 2005 to investigate oil smuggling, which led to the revision of the Petroleum Market Law in 2006. In 2012, the Action Plan on Countering Oil Smuggling was revised. A Circular Order (2012/19) by Prime Ministry for enhanced measures were introduced. A legislation was passed on April 11, 2013, which increased the penalties for smuggling of oil as well as the sale of smuggled oil in gas stations in the country.

After the beginning of the Syrian crisis, in response to increasing lawlessness at the other side of the borders, Turkish law enforcement and security forces stepped up their efforts to counter all threats to our security including smuggling activities stemming from Syria.

These enhanced measures targeting smuggling networks were introduced in 2012, and preceded the capture of two major oil fields in Syria and Iraq by DEASH in June and July 2014 and months before the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2170 in August 2014 and 2199 in February 2015 respectively.

Türkiye, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2199 (2015) regularly provides information to the UN Security Council Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee about the incidents of smuggled oil and amount of oil seized in the border area with Syria and Iraq although the link between material seized and DEASH or ANF terrorist groups cannot be established. Due to enhanced and effective border security measures amount of smuggled oil is decreased considerably. This is clear indication of Türkiye’s determination to fight any illicit trade activity across our borders.

While in 2014, 79 million liters (21 million gallons) of smuggled oil was intercepted by the Turkish law enforcement and customs authorities all over Türkiye, in 2015 this amount decreased to 1,22 million liters (322,289 gallons) due to effective measures taken to prevent oil smuggling. On the other hand, amount of intercepted smuggled oil at Syrian border which was 12,6 million liters in 2014 decreased to 887 thousand liters in 2015. Within the context of counter measures 300 kilometers of illegal pipelines, which are often little more than hoses used for oil smuggling across the Syrian border, were destroyed.

Türkiye employs effective and enhanced measures for border security. Within this context;

• Only two border gates are operating at Syrian border area and no vehicle transit is allowed. Goods, not subject to UN sanctions, are unloaded at zero point and delivered to the other side of the border after customs check.

• Measures at the Turkish-Syria and Turkish-Iraq borders are enhanced by additional personnel, patrols and equipment.

• Overall land borders of Türkiye (with Iran, Bulgaria, Greece, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Syria) are secured by 50.000 military personnel. Within the framework of enhanced security measures at Syrian border, number of the personnel of the existing 12 Border Battalions which was 12.000 in 2104, has been increased to 20.000.

• New units of air defense and reconnaissance have been added to the battalions.

• 90 percent of the operations of unmanned air vehicles are focused in Syrian border area to detect illegal crossing and smuggling activities.

• Türkiye has also strengthened physical security measures along its 911 kilometers border with Syria. Within this context, Türkiye is in the process of establishment of “Syrian border physical security system” which includes construction of 192 kilometers of wall and 93 kilometers part of the said wall has already been completed. This project is expected to cost 81 million US Dollars. At the same time the number of border patrol stations are increased, 375,6 kilometers length of trenches are dug, 153,3 kilometers barbed wire installed, 19,8 kilometers of movable concrete wall formed, 26,3 kilometers of accordion barrier systems positioned, along 422.630 meters part of Syrian border illumination poles installed at every 50 meters, 79,5 kilometers embankment (3x3 m.) formed, 1,217 kilometers length of border patrol path improved and 7,8 kilometers road constructed.