The head of Turkey's southern Antakya Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said that Ankara is trying to sell olive oil brought from Syria's Afrin region to the United States.
Hikmet Çinçin said that this sale is trying to be realized through Turkish Agricultural Credit Cooperatives, a government agency.
“I have just heard that representatives of Turkish Agricultural Credit Cooperatives have gone to New York to market olive oil [brought from Afrin]. We are of the opinion that this is not the right implementation," Çinçin said during a meeting in Turkey's southern Hatay province.
Çinçin said that olive oil is brought to Turkey from Afrin under the condition that it is to be exported and not offered to the domestic market. “But we receive complaints from Turkish producers that this olive oil is marketed to the domestic market,” said Çinçin, adding that the amount of olive oil that wants to be sold to the U.S. reaches 90,000 tons.
As part of its operation dubbed “Olive Branch,” Turkey helped allied Syrian fighters take control of Afrin in 2018 in an attempt to clear the region of Kurdish forces.
Turkish forces and allied rebel groups have been accused of confiscating olive crops from local farmers in Afrin by rights groups.