Turkey’s overall exports increased by 5.2% in the first eight months of the year while exports to Islamic State-controlled Syria increased by 57%. IS continues highly mobile, well-organized attacks without any logistics shortcomings. Turkey has boosted exports of vehicles and spare parts, clothing, durable foodstuffs, electronic items such as cellular phones and chemical products to the area IS controls.
According to data provided by the Exporters Assembly of Turkey [TIM], national exports increased by 5.2% as compared to same period last year and reached to $104.6 billion. The figure that attracted the most attention was the exports to Syria whose border with Turkey is controlled by IS and Jabhat al-Nusra. Last year Syria was 43rd on the list of Turkey’s export destinations. This year it has moved up 10 rungs to become 33rd. Exports to this country increased by 57% to $903 million, up from $574 million, in the first eight months of this year compared with last year. In August, Syria led the list of countries of highest increase in exports by 99%.
A study of export data shows the notable increases in items IS may need for its logistics to support its high mobility warfare. With IS dominating the border with Turkey, there has been a 303% increase in exports of vehicles and spare parts to Syria. In durable foodstuffs categories such as legumes and grains the increase in the first eight months was 50%. The only decrease was with 61% in perishable fruits and vegetables. The increase in border trade did not reflect on the official trade between the two states. For example, defense and aviation exports that are strictly regulated fell by 5% in the first eight months, with a 94% decline in August.
The Syrian town of Azez, opposite Turkey's Kilis, fell into the hands of Islamic militants in September 2013. Turkey’s exports through this crossing increased by 79% since then. Security forces have seized considerable amounts of medical supplies and spare parts in anti-smuggling operations.
Meanwhile the international media keeps on reporting that Turkey is supporting IS not only with its exports but also by buying IS oil.