Contraband soaring in Turkey, police report reveals
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
The largest amounts of bootleg alcohol were captured in the Aegean provinces. DHA photoDespite a dramatic fall in the volume of bootleg alcohol seized by law enforcement officials in 2010, the amount of various contraband products discovered by police has skyrocketed during the past three years, according to a recent report.
Over 32,000 suspects were detained last year in connection with smuggling and contraband activities, the report said.
Law enforcement officials seized a total of 1.2 million bottles of contraband alcohol in 2009, but that amount fell to a mere 362,000 bottles in 2010 and 291,000 bottles in 2011, according to a report published by the Police Headquarters’ Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Department (KOM.) The year 2009 also saw a huge upswing in the amount of bootleg alcohol intercepted by police, up from 384,000 bottles seized in 2008 and 117,000 bottles in 2007.
The drop in the amount of bootleg alcohol found last year is reportedly a consequence of a series of police operations launched into 21 unlicensed alcoholic beverage manufacturers, particularly after the deaths of five Russian tourists due to bootlegged alcohol on a yacht tour in May 2011. The largest amounts of bootleg alcohol were captured in the Aegean provinces of İzmir, Çanakkale and Muğla, respectively.
The amount of contraband fuel intercepted was 14.4 million liters in 2009. Despite signs of a slowdown the following year, with about 7.7 million liters of contraband fuel seized, the number was up again to 10.3 million liters in 2011.
The quantity of contraband cigarettes seized by police has shown no signs of decreasing over the past three years, with over 10 million packages seized in 2009, 43 million in 2010 and nearly 75 million in 2011 across Turkey. The number of contraband cell phones seized by law enforcement officials has also seen a marked increase, from nearly 40,000 in 2010 to almost 120,000 last year.