Gingeras: "Money laundering and illegal trade became lifeblood of Turkish economy"
Ryan Gingeras, a historian of the late Ottoman Empire and author of "Heroin, Organized Crime, and the Making of Modern Turkey", said that the Turkish political administration "has pursued policies that openly tolerated criminal activities" and that "Turkey has become a center for organized crime."
Speaking to Deger Akal of Deutsche Welle Turkish, Gingeras also said that money laundering and illegal trade have become the "lifeblood" of the Turkish economy, and that at the center of these activities is the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Asked about the allegations by rogue mafia boss Sedat Peker, Gingeras said:
"People want to know the truth in all its clarity. They crave for it. Many people believe in the existence of a nationally and globally influential underground world that is linked to both politics and the economy. It's the first time a person known for his crime career has begun making such revelations (...) Peker gives people what they want, and the one single thing they want more than anything is the confirmation of their suspicions. It is obviously very difficult to conclude whether the things Peker says are true or not. But his allegations, this whole process, sheds some more light to Turkey."
Asked to comment on a report by the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, Gingeras said:
"When you look at the last 100 years of Turkey, you see that the state's historical approach to economic activities involve a substantial tolerance of illegal activities. As I wrote in my book, the gaps and inconsistencies in state's policies, especially regarding heroin trafficking, have helped establish the basis of an incredibly profitable informal economy. So, what's happened more recently in the last 20 years? While the Turkish economy has become more dynamic and global, the people have become more globally oriented as well. On the other hand, new opportunities emerged, besides new risks, for people involved in illegal trade. When we analyze AKP's [the ruling Justice and Development Party] political relations with crime and the ways its economic policies create grounds for criminal activities, money laundering and some trade agreements of criminal nature are particularly noteworthy."
Asked to elaborate, Gingeras said:
"We can see it in the way the AKP administration can provide funds from abroad both through the banking system, while it can also attract and receive funds from illegal financial sources. It is very clear that the political administration in Turkey has eased measures to prevent money laundering, brought down barriers. This would not be earlier possible in Turkey."
"Money laundering and illegal trade have become the lifeblood of the Turkish economy. Turkey has become an attraction center for those who want to earn money through illegal activities and for those who want to launder their money. The AKP administration has no problem with this. So, Turkey has unfortunately become a center for for organized crime activities."