Turkey remains a significant transit

Turkey remains a significant transit

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey remains a significant transit

DHA photo

Turkey remains a significant transit country for the trafficking of illicit drugs like heroin, opium, and cocaine, which are generally brought through Turkey to European markets, the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs stated.

The report, issued in March 2013, said that large amounts of opiates and precursor chemicals continue to be seized in Turkey, and the government of Turkey remains committed to upholding its international drug control obligations.

“Most heroin trafficked via Turkey is marketed in Western Europe, where Turkish-based traffickers control much of the distribution. Turkey also acts as a transit route for opium smuggled overland from Afghanistan via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia en route to Western Europe,” the report reads.

The report also points out ethnic Kurds and Iranians as “major drug traffickers in Turkey.” “Many major drug traffickers in Turkey are ethnic Kurds or Iranians. In recent years, many ethnic Kurdish traffickers have expanded operations to larger cities in Turkey and other countries in Europe,” the report said.

In February 2012, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who ran significant drug trafficking networks based in Moldova and Romania, and in July, an estimated 1,700 Turkish police and soldiers participated in a major crackdown on drug trafficking by the PKK in southeast Turkey, according to the report.