Turkey switches to value added exports:  Cocaine

Infamous Turkish mafia leader Sedat Peker, in a video released on Sunday morning local time, accused the son of a former prime minister of sitting on top of a cocaine trafficking ring from Venezuela to Turkey.

According to the mobster, ships taking off from the port in Caracas stop in the Dominican Republic, where they are loaded with the illegal drugs. Peker warned that drug busts would soon begin in the Caribbean nation, referencing earlier busts in Colombia for cocaine shipments destined for Turkish ports.


The trafficking operations also extend to Syria’s western port province of Latakia, Peker said.


The former prime minister on Sunday denied the allegations against his son. Yildirim said his son had in fact visited Venezuela, but in December to deliver face masks and COVID-19 test kits.


“It is the greatest insult to us to link us to narcotics,’’ Yildirim said, adding that the claims were an attempt at a smear campaign.


While Peker’s accusations must be tested in a court of law, Turkey’s rising stature as a major transit hub in world cocaine trade is beyond dispute.


Turkey has become a stopover for a new cocaine trafficking route from South America to Europe, the country’s counter-narcotics police directorate announced on Friday.


Over the last few years, the number of cocaine-based incidents have dropped in the country while there has been an increase in cocaine seized by Turkish officials, the department said, citing an annual report.


This is one of the indicators that point to Turkey becoming “a transit/step” country in cocaine trafficking, it said.


The report arrives after Panamanian authorities earlier this month seized a container hiding 616 packs of cocaine hidden in cases of bananas on their way from Ecuador to a port in Turkey’s southern Mersin province, according to the Central American country’s National Aeronaval Service (SENAN).


Two opposition deputies have submitted parliamentary questions to the vice president and the minister of interior about a 2020 incident where 616 kilograms of cocaine were seized in a Turkey-bound ship by the Panama police.


The ship in question set sail in April 2020 from the Puerto Bolivar Port in Ecuador for Mersin, southern Turkey. The cocaine stash was seized in early May.


According to the Panama authorities, cocaine bags were hidden in banana packages.


The port where the ship departed is operated by the Turkey-based Yılport Holding, as per an agreement signed by the presidents of Turkey and Ecuador in 2016.



A research report by independent think-tank Betam states:


Maritime trafficking both through the Black Sea and the Mediterranean plays an essential role in

wholesale cigarette and fuel smuggling. Purchasing smuggled fuel from ships anchored off the

Black Sea coast is widespread. Once brought ashore, the smuggled fuel is either sold on the spot

or transferred to wholesaler intermediaries. In the Mediterranean, Aegean, and Marmara regions

all kinds of goods are smuggled via the Mersin, Izmir and Istanbul ports. In these instances,

undervaluing or misrepresenting the value of the goods or smuggling goods in container stashes

are common practices.



The collapse of Turkey’s law enforcement agencies and the judiciary under Erdogan’s one-man regime had probably allowed Turkish Mafia to establish links to former intelligence officers and right-wing retired officers as well as serving politicians to open a beachhead to expend its business lines from smuggling of alcohol and tobacco to more dangerous and lucrative narcotics.


Armed with the proceeds of the lucrative coke trade, Turkish Mafia  has grown more brazen and able to buy more corrupt civil servants and politicians, which explains why boss Sedat Peker is not behind the bars, but comfortably chilling his heels in Dubai, spilling the beans on his former reputed business partners.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.