Turkey fines bio-diversity smugglers 2.6 mln liras over 5 years

Turkey fines bio-diversity smugglers 2.6 mln liras over 5 years

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Turkey fines bio-diversity smugglers 2.6 mln liras over 5 years

AA Photo

Turkey has fined smugglers of bio-diversity found in the country a total of 2.6 million Turkish Liras in the last five years. 

Nurettin Taş, the general director of the Environment Preservation and National Parks, said Turkey was an attractive site for bio-smuggling, so the country is trying to find an effective way to combat this illegal business. 

“Ninety-nine people have been caught in 52 incidents in the last five years. A total of 2,615 liras of administrative sanction have been imposed on these people in line with the law on environment,” said Taş, adding that in the past July, 13 smugglers had been caught in six bio-diversity smuggling cases. 

Bio-diversity smuggling includes collecting endemic species that are not found in other geographies or collecting the genetic sources of these species without the permission of the relevant authorities and taking them out of the country.

Taş said they had launched a project to fight this sort of smuggling with a total budget of 1.5 million liras. Taş added Turkey was attractive to bio-diversity smugglers due to the existence of undiscovered species, specifically invertebrates. 

Taş said the most smuggled species from Turkey in the past five years were orchids, tuber and alliaceous plants, wild wheat, butterflies, poisonous snakes, insects and salamanders. 

Commenting on the nationalities of the smugglers caught in Turkey, Taş said they were mostly from Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Russia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Japan. 

He added there were many Syrians who were caught trying to smuggle raptors, like hawks. 

Taş said most of the smugglers were academics who were interested in bio-diversity and there was one smuggler who was facing up to three years for smuggling.