Cablegate: 2003 International Narcotics Control Strategy

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: A. STATE 324347
B. STATE 328024

Following is the preliminary 2003 INCSR report for Turkey.
Post will transmit any changes to addressees per reftels.

I. Summary:

Turkey is a major transit route for Southwest Asian opiates
to Europe, and serves as a base for major narcotics
traffickers and brokers. Turkish law enforcement
organizations focus their efforts on stemming the traffic of
drugs and intercepting precursor chemicals. Turkish forces
cooperate closely with European and U.S. agencies. While most
of the heroin trafficked via Turkey is marketed in Western
Europe, an increasing amount of heroin and opium also is
smuggled from Turkey to the U.S. There is no appreciable
cultivation of illicit narcotics in Turkey other than
marijuana grown primarily for domestic consumption. We are
unaware of any diversion from Turkey's licit opium poppy
cultivation and pharmaceutical morphine production program.

Turkey signed the UN Drug Convention in 1988 and ratified the
agreement in 1996. Turkey is an active member of the
Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The U.S. terminated its
USD 500,000 annual assistance program at the end of FY 1999,
due to Turkey's refusal to accept Leahy Amendment
restrictions. End summary.

II. Status of the Country:

Turkey is a major transshipment and opium conversion point
for heroin. Turkey is also a base of operations for
international narcotics traffickers and associates
trafficking in opium, morphine base, heroin, precursor
chemicals and other drugs. The majority of these opiates
originate in Afghanistan, and are ultimately shipped to
Western Europe. A smaller but still significant amount of
heroin is trafficked to the U.S. via Turkey, and indirectly
through Europe.

Turkish law enforcement forces are strongly committed to
disrupting narcotics trafficking. The Turkish National Police
remains Turkey's most sophisticated counter-narcotics force,
while the Jandarma and Customs continue to increase their

Turkish authorities continue to seize large amounts of heroin
and precursor chemicals, such as acetic anhydride. It is
estimated that multi-ton amounts of heroin are processed in
or smuggled through Turkey each month.

Turkey is one of the two traditional opium-growing countries
recognized by the USG and the International Narcotics Control
Board. There is no appreciable illicit drug cultivation in
Turkey other than marijuana grown primarily for domestic
consumption. The Turkish Government maintains strict control
over its licit poppy program.

III. Country Actions against Drugs:

(a) Policy Initiatives: The GOT devotes significant financial
and human resources to counter-narcotics activities. Turkey
continues to play a key role in Operation Containment (a
regional program to reduce the flow of Afghan heroin to
Western Europe) as well as in other regional efforts.

In 2002, the GOT reorganized the Drug Monitoring and Guidance
Board and transferred its responsibilities to the Turkish
International Academy against Drugs and Organized Crime
(TADOC). Note: Last year,s report (Reftel C) mistakenly
reported that the Board had been &dissolved.8 End Note. In
2003, the GOT appointed TADOC as its lead agency in dealings
with the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug
Addiction (EMCDDA). The GOT expects to become a member of
EMCDDA by year end.

In 2003 the Turkish National Police issued a regulation under
which liaison officers were appointed in various provinces to
establish drug abuse training and prevention units, in
coordination with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry
of Health.

(b) Accomplishments: At the request of the UN, in 2003 TADOC
trained 26 Afghan counter-narcotics officers. Also in 2003,
the DEA organized at TADOC facilities two training seminars
for TNP, Customs and Jandarma, on using electronic
surveillance to combat organized crime.

(c) Law Enforcement Efforts: Through 9 December 2003, Turkish
law enforcement agencies seized 5.2 tons of heroin, 1.9 tons
of hashish and 4,950,000 pills, and made 6,678 drug-related

(d) Corruption:

In June 2003 a Parliamentary Commission on corruption issued
a report examining the reasons for and possible solutions to,
the problem of corruption. It recommended increased
transparency in public administration, strengthened audits,
hiring of more qualified personnel, adoption of international
judicial standards, and increased public and business

In July, 2003, the Turkish Banking Regulatory and Supervisory
Agency (BRSA) assumed control of Imar Bank (part of the Uzan
Group), and subsequently uncovered evidence of a massive
fraud. Separately, in late 2003, Parliament established three
commissions to pursue investigations against six former
government ministers. No connection to narcotics has been
alleged in any of these investigations.

In 2003 Turkey ratified the Convention on Combating Bribery
of Foreign Public Officials in International Transactions and
the Council of Europe's Civil Law on Corruption. Turkey has
signed the Council of Europe's Criminal Law on Corruption and
the UN Convention Against Corruption, but has not yet
ratified them. In 2004, Turkey is expected to become a
member of the Group of Countries against Corruption (GRECO).

(e) Agreements and Treaties: Turkey ratified the 1988 UN Drug
Convention in 1996 and has been a member of FATF since 1991.
Turkey ratified the UN Convention on the Suppression of
Terrorist Financing in April 2002. In 2003 Turkey ratified
the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

In February 2003 Turkey signed a Precursors Agreement with
the EU, to combat the production of substances used in the
manufacture of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
The Agreement awaits ratification.

(f) Cultivation/Production: Illicit drug cultivation,
primarily marijuana, is minor and has no impact on the United
States. Licit opium poppy cultivation is strictly controlled
by the Turkish Grain Board, with no apparent diversion.

(g) Drug Flow/Transit: Turkey remains a major route, and a
storage, production and staging area, for the flow of heroin
to Europe. Turkish-based traffickers and brokers operate in
conjunction with narcotic smugglers, laboratory operators,
and money launderers in and outside Turkey. They finance and
control the smuggling of opiates to and from Turkey.

Afghanistan is the source of most of the opiates reaching
Turkey. Morphine and heroin base are smuggled overland from
Pakistan via Iran. Multi-ton quantities of opiates and
hashish have been smuggled by sea from Pakistan to points
along the Mediterranean, Aegean, and/or Marmara seas. Opiates
and hashish also are smuggled to Turkey overland from
Afghanistan via Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
Traffickers in Turkey illegally acquire the heroin precursor
chemical acetic anhydride from sources in Western Europe, the
Balkans and Russia. For fiscal year 2003, 5.8 metric tons of
acetic anhydride was seized in or destined for Turkey.

Turkish-based traffickers control and operate heroin
laboratories at various locations. Some of them reportedly
have interests in heroin laboratories operating near the
Iranian-Turkish border in Iran. Turkish-based traffickers
control much of the heroin marketed to Western Europe.

Post has no information concerning synthetic drug
manufacturing and distribution.

(h) Demand Reduction: While drug abuse remains low in Turkey
compared to other countries, the number of addicts reportedly
is increasing. Although the Turkish Government appears to be
increasingly aware of the need to combat drug abuse, the
agencies responsible for drug awareness and treatment remain
under-funded. Five Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment
Clinics (AMATEM) have been established, which serve as
regional drug treatment centers. Due to lack of funds, only
one of the centers focuses on drug prevention as well as
treatment. The Health Ministry has not conducted a drug abuse
survey since 1995 due to lack of resources.

IV. U.S. Policies, Initiatives and Programs:

(a) U.S. Policy Initiatives and Programs: U.S. policy remains
to strengthen Turkey,s ability to combat narcotics
trafficking, money laundering and financial crimes. Through
fiscal year 1999, the U.S. Government extended USD 500,000
annually in assistance. While that program has now
terminated, during 2003-04 the U.S. Government anticipates
spending approximately $100,000 in previously-allocated funds
on anti-narcotics programs.

(b) Bilateral Cooperation: U.S. counter-narcotics agencies
report excellent cooperation with Turkish officials. Turkish
counter-narcotics forces have developed technically, becoming
increasingly professional, in part based on the training and
equipment they received from the U.S. and other international
law enforcement agencies.

(c) Road Ahead: With the election of a new government in
November 2002, many of the key government officials
responsible for counter-narcotics and money-laundering were
replaced; however, this does not appear to have degraded the
quality of cooperation. The U.S. Mission in Turkey intends to
continue to engage the recent appointees, and work with the

V. Statistical Tables (through 9 December 2003):

Opium (licit)
- Cultivation 2003:149,787 2002:117,650
- Eradication 2003-01:N/A
- Harvestable 2003:99,430 2002:50,741

Drug Seizures
- Cocaine (kg) 2003:2.6 2002:1.6
- Opium (kg) 2003:243.6 2002:262.6
- Hashish (tons) 2003:1.9 2002:10.1
- Heroin (tons) 2003:5.2 2002:5.1
- Morphine Base (tons) 2003:0.78 2002:0.78
- Acetic Anhydrite (tons) 2003:5.8 2002:60.9
- Captagon/other synthetics 2003:4.95 2002:1.7MM

- Illicit Labs 2003:7 2002-01:N/A
- Domestic Consumption 2003-01:N/A
- Users treated 2003-01:N/A
- Arrests 2003:6,678 2002:8,965

VI. Money Laundering:

(a) General. In 2001, the GOT signed the Strasbourg
Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of
the Proceeds from Crime (ratified September 2003); the
Criminal Law on Corruption (not yet ratified); and the Civil
Law on Corruption (ratified April 2003). By becoming a party
to these COE conventions, the GOT obligated itself to revise
its laws to include proceeds of all serious crimes in the
definition of money laundering, and to specify corruption as
a predicate offense for money laundering.

The Turkish Government signed the UN Convention against
Transnational Organized Crime in 2001 and ratified it earlier
this month. Turkey signed the Convention on Combating Bribery
of Foreign Public Officials in International Business
Transactions in 2000 (ratified February 2003)

Turkey cooperates closely with the U.S. and its neighbors in
the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative (SECI). Turkey
and the U.S. have a MLAT and cooperate closely on narcotics
investigations and proceedings.

Turkey is not an offshore financial center and does not have
secrecy laws that prevent disclosure of client and ownership
information to bank supervisors and law enforcement
officials. Turkey is an important regional financial center,
particularly for Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as
for the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Since the financial
crisis of 2000, the GOT has significantly tightened oversight
of the banking system through BRSA. The reputation of BRSA
has, however, been hurt recently by its failure to detect the
Imar Bank fraud discussed above and Post has concerns about
the commitment of the current government to BRSA,s continued

There is no significant black market for smuggled goods in
Turkey, but tax evasion is a problem. Informed observers
estimate that as much as fifty percent of the economy is
unregistered. The GOT began a joint study with the IRC in
2001 to improve its tax collection. Turkey has established
systems for identifying, tracing, freezing, seizing and
forfeiting narcotics-related assets. Turkey,s laws allow for
only criminal forfeiture.

It is believed that Turkish-based traffickers transfer money
to pay narcotic suppliers in Pakistan and Afghanistan,
primarily through Istanbul exchange houses. The exchanges in
turn wire transfer the funds through Turkish banks to
accounts in Dubai and other locations in the United Arab
Emirates. The money is then paid, often through the
underground banking system, to narcotics suppliers in
Pakistan and Afghanistan.

(b) Investigative Capabilities. Turkey,s police,
prosecutors, judges and investigative agencies require
substantial training in financial crimes. The government has
increased its focus on money laundering, but has had
difficulty obtaining convictions. Since being established in
1997, the Financial Crimes Investigative Board (MASAK) has
pursued more than 500 money laundering cases. Through 2003,
only two cases have resulted in convictions. While good
statistics are not available, most of the cases are believed
to involve non-narcotic criminal actions or tax evasion.

MASAK has not yet settled into its role as Turkey,s
financial intelligence unit and is not yet functioning at a
high level of efficiency. It requires additional legal
authority; continuity of senior management; training; and
computers. Training and equipment needs are being addressed
by an EU accession project, which MASAK claims will be
completed by year-end 2004. Note: Last year,s report (Reftel
C) mistakenly reported that this project was &completed.8
End Note.

Regarding legislation, in 2003, MASAK prepared an amendment
to its law, which Parliament is expected to ratify early in
2004. The new law will broaden the definition of money
laundering and expand the list of predicate offenses. It will
also increase MASAK's authority and enhance its ability to
cooperate with other government agencies. The GOT is
similarly drafting legislation that will enable MASAK to
conduct money laundering investigations into bank owners who
misuse their banks' capital; to investigate the proceeds of
bribery and corruption; and to investigate fraudulent
bankruptcy cases. With these changes, the Turkish money
laundering legislation will include all the predicate
offenses listed by FATF.

(c) Terrorist Financing. Turkey has not yet explicitly
criminalized the financing of terrorism. It complies with
UNSCR 1373 through the distribution to interested GOT
agencies (but not financial institutions) of ministerial
decrees. The tools currently available under Turkish law for
locating, freezing and confiscating terrorist assets are
cumbersome, limited and not particularly effective. As a
result, one terrorist financing investigation conducted by
the FBI and Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2003 has been
hampered. Legislation discussed above should ameliorate this

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