ANKARA: Turkey a major transit route

New Anatolian, Turkey
March 3 2007

‘Turkey a major transit route’

The New Anatolian / Washington
03 March 2007

According this year’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report
(INCSR), Turkey is a major transit route for Southwest Asian opiates
to Europe and serves as a staging area for major narcotics
traffickers and brokers.

The report issued by the U.S. Department of State indicates that
Turkey is also a base of operations for international narcotics
traffickers and associates trafficking in opium, morphine base,
heroin, precursor chemicals and other drugs. "Both morphine base and
heroin are then smuggled from Iran to Turkey and ultimately to
Western Europe."

Underscoring the strong commitment of Turkish law enforcement forces
in disrupting narcotics trafficking, the INCSR said the police were
Turkey’s most proactive counter-narcotics force, while the
Gendarmerie and Customs units continued to play a significant role
against narcotics.

INCSR underlined that though Turkish authorities continued to seize
large amounts of heroin and precursor chemicals it was estimated that
multi-ton amounts of heroin are smuggled through Turkey each month.

The report also pointed out that the government devoted significant
financial and human resources to counter-narcotics activities and
Turkey continued to play a key role in Operation Containment (a DEA
regional program to reduce the flow of Afghan heroin to Western
Europe), as well as in other regional efforts.

According to the report, full-year drug seizure statistics for Turkey
are as follows: 10,283 kg heroin, 529 kg morphine base, 23,884 kg of
cannabis, 440 kg of opium, more than 19,900,000 captagon tablets and
2,400,000 ecstasy tablets.

The INCSR warned that despite drug abuse remaining at a modest in
scale in Turkey, compared to other countries, the number of addicts
is increasing.

The report also noted that Armenia’s borders with Turkey and
Azerbaijan remain closed due to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, adding
however that small amounts of opiates and heroin are smuggled to
Armenia from Turkey via Georgia. "When all of Armenia’s borders open
once again, police predict drug transit will increase significantly,"
the report stressed.

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