Turkish police seized the third largest shipment of cocaine in its history

International organized crime watchdog groups claim that Turkey has become a major transit hub for cocaine smuggling coming from South America to Europe

by Sededin Dedovic
Turkish police seized the third largest shipment of cocaine in its history
© Best Documentary / Youtube channel

Police in Turkey recently carried out one of the most significant operations in their fight against international drug trafficking, seizing the third largest shipment of cocaine in their history. The Minister of Internal Affairs, Ali Jerlikaya, announced today that during this operation, which spread over three Turkish provinces, an impressive 608 kilograms of cocaine in liquid form were seized, as well as 830 kilograms of chemicals used to produce this dangerous drug.

This record seizure represents a serious blow to the international criminal network, and Jerlikaja pointed out that this is the third largest seizure of cocaine in Turkey ever. The main goal of the police action was to expose an international criminal gang, which was allegedly led by a man of Lebanese-Venezuelan origin.

As part of this operation, four foreign members of this criminal group were detained, along with nine Turkish accomplices. The operation was carried out by anti-narcotics officers based in Kocaeli, southeast of Istanbul, with the support of investigations carried out in Tekirdag, northwest of Istanbul, and in the province of Antalya.

According to Jerlikaja, the criminal group used vineyards in Tekirdag and Antalya as places to store chemicals and process cocaine. The cocaine was disguised as fertilizer, which was part of their cunning smuggling strategy.

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime highlighted worrying data on the increase in cocaine smuggling through Turkey in a report from October last year. Cocaine seizures in this country are said to have increased by as much as 44% between 2021 and 2022, out of step with domestic demand.

This indicates that Turkey is likely to serve as a major corridor for drug smuggling from South America to Europe, especially after controls at ports such as Rotterdam in the Netherlands have become more stringent. However, although this is a great success, even greater engagement and cooperation at the international level is needed to effectively combat the global drug trade.

Turkey will, without a doubt, continue to strengthen its efforts in the fight against drug smuggling and it is expected that such operations will become more frequent and effective in the future. Turkey is slowly but surely taking a leading position when it comes to supplying cocaine to Europe.