Turkey: Proposal for inquiry into drug trafficking rejected by ruling bloc deputies

Turkey: Proposal for inquiry into drug trafficking rejected by ruling bloc deputies
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The main opposition leader has recently accused the government of bringing in international drug lords and their drug money to finance deficits.

A proposal for a parliamentary inquiry into drug trafficking in Turkey was rejected by the votes of the ruling bloc deputies on Tuesday in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM).

Ridvan Turan, deputy for the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said before the vote that Turkey has turned into one of the global hot centers of drug trafficking under the current Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, and that the ministry did not effectively combat drug trafficking.

Ali Mahir Basarir, deputy for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), said:

"Remove this interior minister, otherwise you will not be able to fight drug trafficking."

The proposal, submitted by HDP, was rejected by the votes of the deputies of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far right partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu recently accused the administration of inviting international drug lords into the country with their illegal funds, as they sought to narrow the current account deficit by any possible mean.

“They used this dirty money, billions of dollars of drug money to finance Turkey's current account deficit," Kilicdaroglu said on 30 October. "As a result, many drug lords and drug gangs from all over the world came to Istanbul with their money and settled down. They turned Istanbul into a conflict zone of the world's criminal organizations, the drug barons of the international mafia." 

The parliamentary vote on HDP's inquiry proposal also followed the recent arrest of Serbian gang leader Zeljko Bojanicin in Istanbul. Bojanicin is in Interpol's red list, wanted for murder charges.

Journalist Cengiz Erdinc had told independent Turkish media Halk TV on Sunday that Bojanicin "probably fled to Turkey in 2014" and that he was living in Turkey for a long time.

Noting that he was the leader of a gang that smuggled cocaine from South America to Europe, Erdinc said: “He bought a villa which is priced several million dollars. No one asked him where he got this money.”

While the rejection of the parliamentary inquiry into drug trafficking was not reported by Turkish state agency AA, it headlined around the same time with the rejection vote: "PKK funds its bloody terror campaign through drug trafficking in EU."

It cited minister Soylu saying, "the terrorist group reaps over $1.5 billion by controlling some 80% of the European illicit drug market."