Drugs in Turkey
By Mehmet Birbiri, Host Nation Adviser
/ Published October 13, 2006
INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Turkey is a natural bridge between east and west, between Europe and Asia. That bridge is fully used politically and commercially. European countries transport all their goods exported to Middle-Eastern countries through Turkey. In exchange that all the goods going to Europe from Middle-Eastern countries pass through Turkey as well.
Very frequently we see trucks with foreign, mostly European, license plates on Turkish highways carrying goods to the Middle-East. We hardly see any Middle-Eastern countries' trucks carrying goods to Europe.
But we frequently read in papers about drug smugglers captured by Turkish and/or international police. Drugs produced in Afghanistan and Iran, generally heroin, are captured by police on their way to the western world.
Only last Wednesday, the papers wrote that Istanbul Narcotics Police captured five smugglers with 60 kilograms of heroin brought from Iran. The smugglers placed the heroin in hidden places of an automobile and were planning to take the heroin to Holland. Interesting enough, on the packages it wrote in Persian "Serdar Veli Company-First Quality."
The drug traffic is not working in one direction, though. The papers wrote the same day that 14 kilograms of cocaine brought from Colombia was captured in Istanbul again.
The cocaine smugglers confessed that they were planning to take the cocaine to Arab countries. The same article in the papers added that 247,000 of Captagon and 75 Ecstasy pills were captured in two separate operations.
It's a very well known fact that the terrorist groups and organizations control the drug trade and traffic in the world. With the money they gain from drugs, they purchase weapons and continue with their terrorist activities.
Although Turks are known as heavy smokers, using drugs was not a big problem until recent years. The strong family ties among the Turkish people protect the youngsters against drugs in small towns and rural areas. But unfortunately, in Istanbul and other major cities, we have started to face a drug problem among the youngsters.
Education officials, Turkish media and police work hand-in-hand to educate the families and school children. In recent years the drug dealers targeted high school students, selling the drugs so inexpensive and sometimes free. Once the individual gets addicted, the mission is accomplished for the drug dealers.
At the beginning of every school year, briefings and conferences are broadcast on TVs. Several films are shown on TVs how the drug dealers work and ambush the young boys and girls into their traps.