Wednesday 7 October 2015

ISIL Producing coins in Turkish Mint?

An ISIL currency was announced back in
November but so far no actual
coins have been circulated
Turkey arrests six over ‘minting coins for ISIS’ Al-Arabiya News October 8, 2015
Turkish authorities on Wednesday arrested six suspected members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group on suspicion of trying to illegally mint coins for use in areas controlled by the extremists in Syria. Police in the southeastern region of Gaziantep on the border with Syria also seized coin punches, presses and other coin-making equipment, the official Anatolia news agency said, quoting a statement by the regional governor’s office. Acting on a tip-off, Turkish police raided the would-be mint in the town of Sahinbey just south of Gaziantep city.
Turkey has been under pressure from its Western partners to crack down on the activities of ISIS jihadists inside the country and stop extremists from crossing into neighbouring Syria. I am really sceptical about this. The reports say they seized '56 coins'  and makes no mention of any bullion. Making coins is basically just die-stamping, metal workers can be found in ISIL-land I am sure. Why ISIL would want to smuggle tonnes of bullion, of all things - enough to mint enough coins for all transactions in an area the size of Belgium - OUT of the country to foreign die-stampers, and then smuggle back in tonnes of coins is unclear. In fact it is downright improbable. My guess is that somebody in Sahinbey took note of the interest of collectors in objects from ISIL-land and decided to profit on it by turning out fantasy coins 'for the Islamic state' which would be appearing on e-Bay or sold under the counter somewhere. I suspect there is no law against selling and buying privately-produced fantasy coins made in Turkey purporting to come from somewhere else.

Note that the announced designs include representations of the 5 and 10 dirhem coins (see vignette) show the sort of mosques ISIL have been blowing up elsewhere.

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