Turkey Could Become the Middle East’s Next Narco-State

If Turkey joins Syria and Lebanon as the third narco-state in the Eastern Mediterranean, this will only compound the region’s trafficking and money laundering problems, while also presenting illicit non-state actors greater opportunities to exploit.

The assassination of the Turkish Cypriot casino tycoon Halil Falyali last week was the latest episode in Turkey’s underground wars over narco-trafficking and illicit finance. The Turkish mobster-turned-whistleblower Sedat Peker accused Falyali last year of being a key player in the cocaine trade and colluding with Erkan Yildirim, the son of former Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim. Peker alleged that Turkey, which has long been part of a major route for the heroin trade, has become a key hub for cocaine, too, following the nearly twenty-year rule of the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). These developments raise questions about whether Turkey is becoming yet another narco-state in the Middle East, alongside Lebanon and Syria.

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Πηγή: fdd.org

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