1.5 tons of heroin seized in Turkey’s biggest bust
ANTALYA – Demirören News Agency
Some 1.5 tons of heroin that was seized on Jan. 23 in Turkey’s eastern province of Erzurum was the largest amount seized in a single anti-drug operation in the country, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has said.
“On Jan. 23, our security forces have conducted a very successful operation in Erzurum. With this successful operation, they have seized 1 ton and 535 kilograms of heroin, breaking a new record in the Republic history,” Soylu said on Jan. 27 while addressing a meeting in the southern province of Antalya.
The minister said that not only the person who was carrying the drugs was captured, but also the “leader” of the relevant drug ring was captured while he was trying to flee Turkey from Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Aiport.
“The leader of the crime ring was yesterday evening [on Jan. 26] was captured in Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Aiport while trying to flee [the country], and he was blindfold brought to Erzurum and handed over to security forces,” Soylu said.
The minister said that struggle against drug trafficking is also a struggle to block resources of terrorism. “Terror opens space for drugs and provides logistical facilities to it. Drugs, on the other hand, provide finances to terror. Both of them are widespread in the world,” he said.
Soylu said the PKK, which is listed a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, earns $1.5 billion annually from drugs.
“The revenue PKK earns from drugs annually is $1.5 billion [...] PKK is an organization [involved in] human smuggling and drug trafficking. Even the U.S. has confessed this reality in official reports,” Soylu said at the meeting.
The minister said the 28 members of the EU seized a total amount of 4.27 tons of heroin in 2016.
“The amount we [Turkey] seized alone in 2017 was 15 tons and 17.9 tons in 2018,” he added.