Cablegate: Turkey: 2002 International Narcotics Control

Published: Mon 13 Jan 2003 11:17 AM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: A) STATE 240015 B) STATE 240035
Following is the draft 2002 INSCR report for Turkey. Post
will transmit any changes to addressees per reftels.
I. Summary:
Turkey is a major transit route for Southwest Asian opiates
moving to Europe, and serves as a base of operations for
major narcotics traffickers and brokers. Turkish law
enforcement organizations continue to focus their efforts on
stemming the traffic of drugs and intercepting precursor
chemicals. Turkish forces cooperate closely with European
and U.S. agencies to combat trafficking. While most of the
heroin trafficked via Turkey is marketed in Western European
countries, an increasing amount of heroin and opium also is
smuggled from Turkey to the U.S. There is no appreciable
cultivation of illicit narcotics in Turkey other than
marijuana grown primarily for domestic consumption. We are
unaware of any diversion from Turkey's licit opium poppy
cultivation and pharmaceutical morphine production program.
Turkey signed the UN Drug Convention in 1988 and formally
ratified the agreement in 1996. Turkey is an active member
of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The U.S.
terminated its USD 500,000 annual assistance program with
Turkey at the end of FY 1999, due to Turkey's refusal to
accept human rights language (related to the Leahy Amendment)
in the bilateral letter of agreement. End summary.
II. Status of the Country:
Turkey is a major transshipment and opium conversion point
for heroin. Turkey also serves as a base of operations for
international narcotics traffickers and associates who
control the smuggling and trafficking of opium, morphine
base, heroin, precursor chemicals and other drugs. The
majority of these opiates originate in Afghanistan, and are
ultimately shipped to Western Europe. A smaller but still
significant amount of heroin is trafficked to the U.S. via
Turkey, as well as indirectly through Europe.
Turkish law enforcement and anti-narcotics forces are
strongly committed to disrupting narcotics trafficking.
Turkish counter-narcotic forces continue to increase the
sophistication of their operations, including their ability
to conduct controlled deliveries domestically and
internationally. The Turkish National Police remains
Turkey's most sophisticated counter-narcotics force, while
the Jandarma and Customs continue to increase their efficacy.
Turkish authorities continue to seize large amounts of heroin
and precursor chemicals, such as acetic anhydride. It is
estimated that multi-ton amounts of heroin are processed in
or smuggled through Turkey each month.
Turkey is one of the two traditional opium-growing countries
as recognized by the U.S. Government and the International
Narcotics Control Board (INCB). There is no appreciable
illicit drug cultivation in Turkey other than marijuana grown
primarily for domestic consumption. The Turkish Government
maintains strict control over its licit poppy program, which
provides opiates for the international pharmaceutical market.
III. Country Actions against Drugs:
(a) Policy Initiatives: The Turkish Government devotes
significant financial and human resources to Turkish law
enforcement organizations to support counter-narcotics
activities. In February 2002, DEA and the Turkish National
Police hosted the Southwest Asia Heroin Strategy Conference
in Ankara. This meeting led to the development of Operation
Containment, a regional program aimed at reducing the flow of
Afghan heroin to Western Europe. The DEA and Turkish
National Police then hosted a follow-up meeting in Ankara in
May 2002. Turkey is playing a key role in Operation
Containment as well as in other regional efforts, assisting
with multi-nation controlled deliveries and providing
significant logistical support.
In 2002, the government dissolved the Drug Monitoring and
Guidance Board and transferred its responsibilities to the
Turkish International Academy against Drugs and Organized
Crime (TADOC). TADOC did not announce any new policy
initiatives in this area in 2002.
(b) Accomplishments: The Turkish International Academy
against Drugs and Organized Crime (TADOC), which was
established under the initiative of the UN and the Turkish
National Police in 2000, trained 1,563 participants in 2002,
196 of them being international law enforcement officers.
International participants were from countries of the
Economic Cooperation Organization, Black Sea Economic
Cooperation and the Balkans. The training program led to
enhanced cooperation and information sharing in law
enforcement among the participant countries.
The Financial Crimes Investigation Board (FCIB/MASAK) issued
two communiques in 2002. The first communique, dated Feb
2002, requires banks and financial institutions to report
suspicious transactions, pursuant to the recommendation of
the Financial Action Task Force. This communique is an
important step for pursuing both money laundering and
terrorist financing cases. The second communique calls on
banks and private financial institutions to appoint a liaison
officer as a point of contact for FCIB in order to better
track suspicious financial transactions. The FCIB also
completed the "Financial Intelligence Database Project" in
2002, a database that is expected to increase FCIB's
(c) Law Enforcement Efforts: During 2002, Turkish law
enforcement agencies, including the Turkish National Police,
the Jandarma, Customs and the Coast Guard, conducted
successful operations and seized over xx tons of heroin, xx
tons of hashish, and xx million pills (figures to be updated
1/31/03). In March 2002, Turkish authorities seized 7,454
kilos of morphine base as a result of a DEA-Jandarma joint
investigation. This was the largest seizure of morphine base
ever in Turkey. Authorities made xx drug-related arrests in
(d) Corruption: The Anti-Corruption Supervisory Committee,
which was established in 2001, submitted an "Action Plan on
Increased Transparency and Efficient Administration in
Turkey" to the Council of Ministers in 2001. The Council of
Ministers approved the action plan in January 2002 and
established a monitoring commission comprised of the related
The new government, which was elected in November 2002,
committed in its "action plan" to secure parliamentary
approval of the European Council's Criminal Law on Corruption
and the Civil Law on Corruption, and to participate in the
Group of Countries Against Corruption (GRECO).
(e) Agreements and Treaties: Turkey ratified the 1988 UN
Drug Convention in 1996 and has been a member of the
Financial Action Task Force since 1991. The government
signed the UN Convention on the Suppression of Terrorist
Financing in Sep 2001, and the Turkish parliament ratified
the convention in April 2002.
(f) Cultivation/Production: Illicit drug cultivation,
primarily marijuana, is minor and has no impact on the United
States. Licit opium poppy cultivation is strictly controlled
by the Turkish Grain Board (TMO), with no apparent diversion
into illicit channels. Farmers receive a higher return from
the sale of poppy seeds as a food product than the sale of
the low alkaloid poppy straw.
(g) Drug Flow/Transit: Turkey remains a major route, as well
as a storage, production and staging area, for the flow of
heroin to Europe. Turkish-based traffickers and brokers
operate directly and in conjunction with narcotic smugglers,
laboratory operators, and money launderers in and outside
Turkey. They finance and control the smuggling of opiates
(whether in the form of opium, morphine base or heroin) to
and from Turkey.
Afghanistan is the original source of most of the opiates
reaching Turkey. Morphine and heroin base are smuggled by
overland vehicles from Pakistan via Iran to Turkey.
Multi-ton quantities of opiates and hashish have been
smuggled by sea from Pakistan to points in Turkey along the
Mediterranean, Aegean, and/or Marmara seas. Opiates and
hashish also are smuggled to Turkey overland from Afghanistan
via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
Traffickers in Turkey illegally acquire the precursor
chemical acetic anhydride, which is used in the production of
heroin, from sources in Western Europe, the Balkans and
Russia. From July 1, 1999, to December 31, 2002, over 94
metric tons of acetic anhydride was seized in or destined for
Turkish-based traffickers control and operate the illicit
laboratories refining morphine base into heroin at various
locations in Turkey. Some of them reportedly have interests
in heroin laboratories operating near the Iranian-Turkish
border in Iran. The ready availability of opiates
originating from Afghanistan and precursor chemicals from
other countries enables major traffickers in Turkey to
continue to operate illicit laboratories converting morphine
base into heroin. These heroin laboratories enable
Turkish-based traffickers to control much of the heroin
marketed to Western Europe.
(h) Demand Reduction: While drug abuse remains low in Turkey
compared to other countries, the number of addicts reportedly
has increased in recent years. Although the Turkish
Government appears to be increasingly aware of the need to
combat drug abuse, the agencies responsible for drug
awareness and treatment remain under-funded. There are a
total of five Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment Clinics
(AMATEM) in Turkey, which serve as regional drug treatment
centers. Due to lack of funds, only one of the centers
focuses on drug prevention as well as treatment. The Health
Ministry has not conducted a drug abuse survey since 1995 due
to lack of resources.
IV. U.S. Policies, Initiatives and Programs:
(a) U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs: U.S. policy
remains to strengthen Turkey,s ability to combat narcotics
trafficking, money laundering and financial crimes. Through
fiscal year 1999, the U.S. Government extended USD 500,000
annually in assistance to provide: commodity and training
assistance to the Turkish National Police and Jandarma;
training and equipment to Turkish Customs to improve border
interdiction; commodity and training to the Turkish Grain
Board and training to the Turkish Financial Crimes
Investigation Board.
(b) Bilateral Cooperation: U.S. counter-narcotics agencies
report that their counterparts have continued excellent
cooperation with U.S. officials. Turkish counter-narcotics
forces have developed technically, becoming increasingly
professional, in part based on the training and equipment
they received from the U.S. and other international law
enforcement agencies.
On February 7, 2002, DEA presented the Turkish National
Police and the Turkish Government with an asset sharing check
for USD 264,846. This money was part of more than USD 2
million seized by DEA in the course of a long-term,
multinational criminal investigation that culminated in 1995
with coordinated arrests in the U.S., Turkey, Holland, and
Germany. Turkish government cooperation was key to this
case; the Turkish National Police contributed critical
evidence without which many convictions would not have been
(c) Road Ahead: With the election of a new government in
November 2002, many of the key government officials
responsible for counter-narcotics and money-laundering may be
replaced. The U.S. Mission in Turkey intends to engage these
officials, and work with the new government to help combat
drug trafficking, money laundering, and corruption. Should
the economic recession in Turkey continue, financial
resources available to law enforcement agencies may be
V. Statistical Tables (to be completed 1/31/03):
2002 2001 2000
Opium (licit)
- Cultivation 117,650 80,791 110,020
- Eradication N/A N/A N/A
- Harvestable 50,741 45,836 27,555
Drug Seizures
- Cocaine (kg) 1.6 8.4
- Opium (kg) 262.6 362.9
- Hashish (tons) 10.1 29.1
- Heroin (tons) 5.1 6.1
- Morphine Base (tons) 0.78 2.4
- Acetic Anhydrite (tns) 60.9 22.6
- Captagon/other 1,712,616 1,173,228
synthetic drugs
- Illicit Labs N/A N/A
- Domestic Cons. N/A N/A
- Users treated N/A N/A
- Arrests 8,965 6,131
VI. Money Laundering:
(a) General: Turkey is not an offshore financial center and
does not have secrecy laws that prevent disclosure of client
and ownership information to bank supervisors and law
enforcement officials. Turkey is an important regional
financial center, particularly for Central Asia and the
Caucasus, as well as for the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Since the financial crisis of 2000, the Turkish Government
has taken over 19 of Turkey,s 81 banks, and has
significantly tightened oversight of the banking system
through an independent regulatory authority.
The government has increased its focus on money laundering,
but has had difficulty obtaining convictions. Since being
established in 1997, the Financial Crimes Investigative Board
(FCIB) has pursued more than 500 money laundering cases. Of
those, 59 cases have been prosecuted, with only one case
resulting in a conviction. Most of the cases involve
non-narcotic criminal actions or tax evasion; roughly 30
percent are narcotics related.
It is believed that Turkish-based traffickers collect and
transfer money to pay narcotic suppliers in Pakistan and
Afghanistan, primarily by using money exchanges in Istanbul.
The exchanges in turn wire transfer the funds through Turkish
banks to accounts in Dubai and other locations in the United
Arab Emirates. The money is then paid, often through the
underground banking system, to narcotics suppliers in
Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The Turkish Government broadened the definition of money
laundering in 2001, through adopting three conventions of the
Council of Europe: the Strasbourg Convention on Laundering,
Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime;
the Criminal Law on Corruption; and the Civil Law on
Corruption. By becoming a party to these conventions, the
Turkish Government agreed to include proceeds of all serious
crimes in the definition of money laundering, and to specify
corruption as a predicate offense for money laundering.
The Turkish Government signed the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime in 2001 and has submitted a
draft proposal to the UN to become a party to the UN
Convention against Corruption. Turkey signed the Convention
on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in
International Business Transactions in 2000.
Turkey cooperates closely with the U.S. and its neighbors to
support the development of a regional anti-crime center in
the Balkans under the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative
(SECI). Turkey and the U.S. have a MLAT and cooperate
closely on narcotics investigations and proceedings. Turkey
and the U.S. have worked closely on money laundering related
There is no significant black market in Turkey, but tax
evasion is a problem for the Turkish economy. The GOT began
a joint study with the IRC in 2001 to improve its tax
collection. Turkey has established systems for identifying,
tracing, freezing, seizing and forfeiting narcotics-related
assets. Turkey,s laws allow for only criminal forfeiture.
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