Turkish mafia groups with government connections enjoy immunity: Report
Turkey was ranked 14th globally and 6th in Asia in 2023 in organized crime, according to the report of Global Organized Crime Index, and scored an average of 7.03 out of 10, up from 6.89 in 2021.
Turkey follows Myanmar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Syria in Asia, and has an average score higher than any country in Europe. It scored particularly high in human trafficking and smuggling, with respectively 8 and 9, in arms trafficking (8.5), heroin trade (8.5), state-embedded actors (9) and mafia-style groups (8.5).
"There are a significant number of mafia-style groups operating in Turkey, modelled on the traditional mafia system. Those that continue to exist in the country reportedly have developed close connections with the government and other politicians, making them immune to law enforcement or the judicial system, until they fall out of favour due to their actions," the report said.
"There is a general impression that enforcement is uneven in practice, with favouritism shown towards supporters of the ruling party and the president. Criminal scandals combined with a currency crisis have raised numerous questions in relation to the integrity of the government, affecting its popularity with the public."
It further stressed:
"Recent allegations suggest a close connection between the government and organized-crime organizations active in Turkey. Government transparency and accountability is low, with the lack of transparency becoming more apparent following the financial crisis, which is ongoing."
Photo: Devlet Bahceli, the leader of far right Nationalist Movement Party, posing with Alaattin Cakici, the boss of the largest organized crime network in Turkey according to police reports