© Copyright Embassy of Greece 1996-2005. All Rights Reserved.
28 January, 1997
An EDU/EUROPOL report on illegal narcotics has adopted all the views expressed by the Greek delegation, which stated that 80 to 90 per cent of heroin confiscated in the European Union comes from southeast Asia and is transported primarily by Turkish drug smugglers.
According to a public order ministry announcement, more than 1,100 Turkish nationals were arrested in the EU for heroin smuggling in 1995.
The report states that Turkey-based smuggling rings have full control over the trafficking of heroin through the Balkans to the countries of the west, cooperating closely with other groups with which they have political or religious ties, adding that smuggling rings fully utilize Turkish minorities in EU countries, while their operations also function along family ties.
As Turkey does not have legislation regarding money laundering, income from the drug trade is also invested in legitimate businesses in that country, the announcement reads.
Additionally, chemicals and raw materials needed for the production of synthetic narcotics are shipped to Turkey from the west.
Speaking on the issue, Public Order Minister George Romeos said that Greece "has repeatedly stressed the role of Turkey in the production and trafficking of heroin to Europe, and it is time for there to be direct control mechanisms and the imposition of sanctions on that country.
"Greece will continue to inform international communities, it will contribute to the break up of the rings attempting to smuggle heroin, while it has significant successes in the arrest of smugglers which has forced Turkish smugglers to change their heroin routes to the north of our country."
Mr. Romeos added that "the European Union member-countries, with great delay, finally realized the severity of the problem."
On his part, government spokesman Dimitris Reppas responded sharply when asked yesterday to comment on remarks by a French judge concerning alleged links between Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller and organized drug smuggling.
"Such phenomena illustrate the decay, lack of democracy and decline of that country," Mr. Reppas said, while underlining that Greece, nevertheless, desired good relations with Turkey based on equality.
The remarks by the French judge come just one week after similar allegations by a Frankfurt judge.
Source: Athens News Agency