By Ferran Barber – Público.es
The Urfa MP of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Ömer Öcalan has submitted a parliamentary question to the Turkish Minister of Agriculture, Bekir Pekdemirli’nin, asking to clarify the destination of the olive oil plundered by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the city of Afrin, a Kurdish majority area of northern Syria occupied by Turkey. Referring to a story released by the newspaper Público last weekend, Öcalan assumes that the transport to Turkey of the olives and / or the oil produced in Syria for its subsequent commercialisation in the national market and European third countries is beyond doubt. In this regard, he has asked the minister to provide detailed information on how many tons of produce have been transferred from Syria to Turkey and how much money will be generated by their sales.
The Kurdish MP has also asked Bekir Pekdemirli’nin to clarify what part of that olive oil has been or will be marketed in Turkey and what percentage will be destined for export to other European third countries, such as Spain. Öcalan wonders whether other agricultural products from the Syrian area occupied by Ankara and its proxy forces have also been marketed in Turkey or abroad.
According to Público, the Government of Turkey is illegally trying to introduce the Afrin olive oil looted by its mercenaries into Spain. Part of the production could have already been sold, or could be about to be marketed, with false documents of origin issued with the blessing of Ankara. The Spanish newspaper mentioned a secret protocol released a few weeks ago by the Kurdish agency Firat (ANF), which descibes how almost a quarter of the income obtained from the sale of this product would be used to pay the mercenary forces (FSA) used by Recep Tayipp Erdogan to sustain his occupation of part of Rojava.
Bekir Pekdemirli’nin acknowledged last November that Turkey had already seized six hundred tons of the looted product in Afrin, to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Kurdish militias (YPG and PKK). According to local producers, the estimated total amount of product sold in Turkey at the end of the harvest would be at least five thousand tons.
In reference to the Publico’s investigation, another Turkish MP from the People’s Republican Party (CHP), Orhan Saribal, assured this week that it is accurate that large quantities of Syrian olive oil are entering Turkey to its further commercialisation. According to this Kemalist politician, the crude oil is packaged and labeled in Turkey. But in his opinion, it is not 5,000 but 50,000 tons that have been looted by Ankara in the occupied territories, an amount equivalent to 25 percent of the total Turkish olive oil production.
The investigation carried out by Público has been reproduced by The Telegraph, Olive Times and several other media in the Middle East. In statements to Arti Gerçek, Saribal assured that the introduction in Turkey of the Afrin production had negatively affected both Turkish producers and the farmers of Afrin. Saribal said that the Syrian crude oil is being transported in sixteen and twenty kilo cans to Turkey and, from there, it sold in the national territory and “sent abroad.” To produce that amount of oil, it would have been necessary to process around 200,000 tons of Afrin olives. Afrin’s local producers have either been literally robbed or receive paltry amounts of money for their product. These incomes are entirely going to the FSA mercenaries, the Turkish Administration and their intermediaries.